Gaia Architects

UK House of the Year

Tressour Wood, Weem, Perthshire

Client: Peter and Marjorie Bourne

The all timber house was designed and constructed after a long battle with the planning authorities centred on the use of timber for permanent housing in Scotland.

The house pioneered Gaia's use of 'breathing' or moisture transfusive construction in Scotland, along with numerous other aspects of ecological construction. Following a change of site, the house was approved as it was perceived as being "in a wooded environment".


The house has high levels of cellulose fibre insulation and benign structural and finishing materials. None of the timber was chemically treated either internally or externally and all wall, floor and ceiling finishes are natural and non-toxic.


It is heated by a combination of passive solar gain and a wood-burning stove. The open plan allows for the heat to rise up through the solar staircase atrium which has magnificent views over the Perthshire countryside. Summer cooling is achieved via stack effect through the same atrium, with a vent at the roof apex.


The exemplary design has been much copied, albeit not always well, and even claimed by others. It has taken its rightful place as a classic of modern design, as well as a forerunner of high quality sustainable rural housing.


The project was started in 1989 and won UK house of the year in 1993.


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