2016 Tog House

2016 marks the 5th birthday of Tog Studio.

During the last 5 years our team and network of Tog fellows has grown, we have had more recognition and support from the architectural community and the construction industry than we could ever have imagined. This in turn has fuelled our ambition to push ourselves and our work to the next level.

The next level as we see it this year is to step up from unheated buildings designed for seasonal use to designing and building a domestic dwelling that will be inhabited all year round.  We believe this category of project reflects the maturity in our work as designers and architects and presents a suitable challenge and educational opportunity for ourselves and the wonderful people we get to work with on site.

The first ever Tog House is currently under construction on the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides.  The house is being commissioned by Tog Studio & Roots Architecture Directors Micheal & Lynne.  It is a development of a family owned property into a place for both Micheal and Lynne to live and Tog fellows to stay in during the years ahead.

The Tog House is a two bedroom new-build extension that is being constructed onto a traditional Tiree ‘Blacktop’ House. Our intention is to develop the new build part of the house this year, and if all goes according to plan we will take on a radical renovation of the traditional house during the following summer.

The 2016 Tog House will be a contemporary interpretation of the Tiree ‘Blacktop’ House.  It will pay homage to the traditional details of these vernacular buildings which have evolved to resist the worst weather that comes straight off the Atlantic. The proposed building will incorporate an aerodynamic curved ridge and recessed eaves to prevent uplift of the roof.  To improve upon the traditional construction, rather than using thick masonry walls, we will be working with timber frame (supplied by BSW Timber) and thick walls of natural insulation to produce a comfortable interior environment that will meet modern energy performance standards.  We will be dabbling with a black fibreglass roof covering which we see as a more robust approach to the traditional black tar and felt roof coverings which require regular maintenance.  We have also put our own spin on the traditional symmetrical plan of Tiree houses to create a sequence of spaces that flow together efficiently and let natural daylight penetrate into the core of the house.  Modern glazing allows the design to make the most of the available views and capture heat from the sun.

Part of the design challenge with this project is how to tie the new build in with existing cottage.  We have retained some of the existing stone walls to wrap around the gable of the new build.  We will also be using slate cladding on the exterior to accentuate the feeling of mass in the walls. A glazed link between the old and new parts of the property will provide some breathing space between both structures and revive the proportions of the original house.

Throughout the design process we have benefitted from the knowledge and experience of architect Duncan Roberts and structural engineering input from Woolgar Hunter.  Local Tiree contractor Graeme McColl and his team at CKR Island Construction, have delivered distinct packages of work for us, including leading the construction of the foundations, and kept us right when the inevitable problem arises on site!  We are hugely grateful for all of the advice, mentoring and support we have received from each of them!

To see our progress onsite please check out our photo diary on our Instagram feed [@RootsArchitecture] Twitter feed [@tog_studio] or Facebook page [Tog Studio]

In April we began work on site with the strip out of the living room and sunroom of the original house which were demolished in preparation for the new build.  Subsequently we excavated the trenches for the foundations, prepared the steel reinforcement cages and then poured the foundations.  There was then a concrete slab ready for our first Tog event of the year.  All done with a lot of help from our friends and family!

In June 2016 we ran a 2 week live-build course run by our good friend, experienced architect, and Walter Segal expert Duncan Roberts.  Our good friend and architect Jó Murphy returned to Tiree to help us to troubleshoot inevitable problems that would arise- a truly invaluable member of the team.   Throughout the fortnight we worked as a team of 15 on site to assemble and construct the timber panels and roof trusses to form the structure for the new house.  We had a great team on site and we were particularly delighted to have many friends from the Tog fellowship coming back to help us. Michael Goodger, Ryan Cole, Emily Stephen, Kerry Clark, David Wyllie, Scott Simpson, Lewis Grant, Jamie McCallum, Kirsty Cassels & John Bethune.

From 13th-20th August we will be running a Tog Cladding week on Tiree with slate experts from Cupa Pizarras and Burton Roofing on site to teach us how to clad walls in slate.  We will also be taking on timber cladding supplied by Russwood.  Click here for more details of how you can join us on site in August!

We are exceedingly grateful for material donations we have received from BSW Timber, Cupa Pizarras, Sterling OSB, and continued support from Russwood and ESALA.

Without this support this project would not have been possible.

Date: July 19, 2016