Renovated Scottish Farmhouse


A private 180 m² home in Dumfries, Scotland, has been built within the existing stone ruins of an old farmhouse, and takes advantage of the beautiful views of its surrounding valleys.

“Since the existing ruin and new building reveal a palimpsest of occupation on the site,” say Paris-based architectural firm NDA, who created the farmhouse in collaboration with Lily Jencks Studio and Nous Engineering, “we wanted to highlight this layering by adding a sequence of counterpoint materials and variating geometry within the design.”

Palimpsest is a beautiful word to describe the effect: Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

The first, outer layer is the existing stone wall, within which sits a black EPDM rubber clad pitched-roof “envelope”, and within that a curvilinear interior “tube” wall system. The three layers, described as the Ruin, Envelope and Tube, were conceived as being “laminated” together.

Within the Tube are the shared spaces – kitchen, study, sitting- and dining room – and in some areas the Tube “delaminates” from the Envelope to create more private rooms, such as bedrooms, bathrooms and storage. The existing stone walls and views from the site dictated the locations of the large windows and door openings.

The team purposefully preserved the ruin walls and reinstituted the familiar pitched farmhouse roof that would have been there originally, but the matt black rubber exterior and soft curves of the interior provide a contrasting interpretation that accentuates the layered nature of occupation and the pleasure of living within history.

Read about a local farmhouse renovation in the Karoo that also successfully saw the marriage of old and new.