Latest News

Steading + Milking Parlour Renovation Completed

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The renovation of a dilapidated steading and milking parlour has now been completed in rural Aberdeenshire. The result is a spacious and light 4 bed family home.


Living a small damp farmhouse this private client had the vision to adapt their derelict outbuildings into a spacious modern home. The open plan living space is a former milking parlour and the bridles used to tether cows can still be seen on the internal gable. Original steel trusses are exposed, and a dramatic guillotine door frames the entrance. The retention of these internal features was made possible by the decision to over-clad the building with a new insulated shell clad in larch.


The bedroom wing by contrast is a stone building. It looks original but in fact an existing ruin on this site was completely dismantled and the Aberdeenshire granite reused to clad a new timber framed structure.


The full project can be seen here.


If you have any exciting renovation ideas or projects that you wish to discuss please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

New House in Strathaven

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We are delighted to receive planning approval for this new brick and timber house in the village of Strathaven.

The siting of the stepped volumes in plan relates to the neighbouring building positions of the bungalows (to the front of the site) and the presbytery (to the back of the site). The house is sensitively sited, sitting low within the gentle slope of the existing landscape. The result is that the building has a less prominent appearance on the site, with the ridge height of the two-storey element sitting lower than that of the adjacent domestic bungalows. The south west elevation opposite shows the dwelling in relation to the adjacent streetscape.

The building is deliberately deferential to the large church building to the west to allow it to maintain its autonomy as the prominent public building on the street. This will be further improved by the intended landscaping works. We look forward to bringing this project forward and adding a piece of contemporary architecture to the townscape.

Arran Challenge Grand Total

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Today we received this certificate from MS Society Scotland giving us our final total from our Arran Challenge with Heb Homes including gift aid. What a fantastic amount of money. It will be directed towards the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair. Here’s hoping it can make a difference.

Dualchas wins big at the IAA Awards

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A Dualchas house that cantilevers over the shores of the Sound of Sleat near Armadale on Skye has won the top award in an architectural competition for the Highlands and Islands.

The Black House scooped the award for the best new building at the Inverness Architectural Association Awards, and also took the prize for the best overall project at a lavish awards dinner in Inverness on Friday.

Speaking after the event, project architect Laura Stephen said, “this award is a tribute to the clients who had the confidence in Dualchas to allow us to carry forward a bold design, as well as the skill of the contractor who built to such a high standard on a challenging site.”

The three bedroom house has a modest one-storey entrance which deliberately conceals the true height and scale of the building. Once entered there is a dramatic roof light above a sculptural staircase. As the staircase of the house is descended to the lower floor the full drama of the site is revealed, with a wall of glass to the living space framing an extraordinary view across the Sound to the hills of Knoydart. It was this element of “joy and surprise” which made the building stand out for the judges.

Owners Delia and Julian Thomas expressed delight at the award, saying that they were “proud of the building and all those in the team who made it possible.”

Several other Dualchas projects picked up awards, with the full list below. Congratulations to all clients, design teams and contractors who were involved.

Overall Project Award:

Winner: The Black House


New Building Award:

Winner: The Black House

Commended: Grèinamol, An Cala


Best Use of Timber:

Commended: Grèinamol


Smaller Project:

Highly Commended: Harlosh


We would like to this opportunity to thank everyone who helped with the projects; the clients, the contractors, engineers and specifiers.

Fort William Cinema Unveiled

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We have released our vision for a new cinema in Fort William town centre for the first time.

This shows the transformation of Cameron square where the 1980s building, currently being used by retailer DV8, is to be demolished and replaced with a stone and metal-clad two screen cinema with a café/bar.

The project has been developed by Highland entrepreneur Angus MacDonald who is holding a public consultation in Cameron Square this Wednesday to Friday to explain the ambitions of the project. And according to Angus, the project should help with the town’s continued regeneration.

“I am delighted to have secured a fantastic site for a cinema in the Fort William town centre. Dualchas has designed a gorgeous building which will provide a stunning addition to the town.

Because the Fort William area has a population of 20,000, with 440,000 visitors who stay at least one night, this should hopefully provide a steady flow of people to the two screens during our wet days and dark evenings.”

There have been several attempts in the recent past to get a cinema back in Fort William, which has not had a working cinema for 12 years. Mr MacDonald, who is from a local family and has lived almost all his life in the Highlands, is funding the project privately while also seeking support from local businesses and the wider community.

The design tries to tie in to the fabric of the existing square, which was previously the site of the town hall, before it was tragically destroyed by fire in 1975. And it is that sense of a civic centre which project architect Rory Flyn says that the design is trying to create.

“When Angus approached Dualchas he wanted a building designed that was distinctly Highland, and he was inspired by images of Highland village halls and classically proportioned houses. He was also keen that the materials were stone and metal – something which referenced the architecture of the place.

Dualchas have taken his ideas and tried to create a building that breaks down a rather large brief in to 4 distinct forms which are in proportion and respectful to the surrounding historic buildings. We hope the design will reinstate Cameron Square as the focal point of Fort William, as well as providing a wonderful facility.”

The proposed opening date for the new facility of the summer of 2020, with an expectation that ten full time equivalent jobs will be created.

Arran Challenge Triumph

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Last weekend Dualchas and Hebhomes ascended Arran. 24 of us took it upon ourselves to cycle 57 miles around Arran or run or walk 10km up and down Goatfell. It was a fantastic weekend with everyone giving it 100%. The quickest cycling group managed the Arran Loop in 4 hours 35 minutes and the fastest runner managed to get up and down in only 1 hour 55 minutes. There was plenty of sore bodies the day after.

A massive thank you to everyone who contributed to our amazing success of reaching in excess of £5000! Hopefully our contribution can make a little difference. The running total can be seen by clicking here.


Arran Challenge


Family House on Skye

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The benefit of working in places like the Isle of Skye is being part of the community. We are able to see houses become family homes, and we are often welcomed back to enjoy these spaces with clients and friends. This home is situated in Camuscross and enjoys great views across the water towards the Knoydart peninsula. It is flooded by natural light, the clerestory glazing allowing for an open and flowing living space.

Dualchas at the V&A

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Dualchas are delighted that two of their houses, Colbost and Cliff House on the Isle of Skye, are being showcased in the new Victoria and Albert design museum in Dundee in a permanent exhibition.

Speaking at the official opening Dualchas director Alasdair Stephen said,  ‘It was a complete surprise to me that not only Dualchas but also a Hebhomes design had been selected to illustrate the strength of architectural design in rural Scotland.

‘It was a surprise to see stunning footage of Jason Bold’s house using drone camerawork, this was extra special.

‘I think it says a lot about the quality of our work that Dualchas has been selected for such a prestigious building’

Fraser Stewart who created the models on display said “It was a great pleasure to be invited to provide a pair of models which shows how Dualchas’ architecture integrates with the landscape. The timber massing models show how the simple forms sit within the contours of the site which are formed of cork. The pair of models show how a sensitive and respectful approach to site layout can lead to a holistic and considered architecture, peacfully integrating with its surroundings”

Fort William Cinema

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Press release

Skye-based design firm Dualchas Architects has been appointed to design a new cinema for Fort William. This will see a two screen cinema with a café/bar built in Cameron Square in the heart of the town.

The project has been developed by Highland entrepreneur Angus MacDonald, who has recently purchased the 1970s former studio cinema, now used by retailer DV8. This will be demolished and replaced with the new building. And according to Mr MacDonald, high quality design is central to the proposal.

“We are delighted to have appointed Dualchas as architects. Their reputation in selecting fantastic local building materials and their contemporary twist on Highland traditional building styles was very appealing to us. They have already produced a beautiful design concept which is being developed prior to it being presented to the local community.”

There have been several attempts in the recent past to get a cinema back in Fort William, which has not had a working cinema for 12 years. The plan is to offer a wide variety of films to the 20,000 locals and 440,000 annual visitors, as well as transform the square in to a beautiful public space.

Dualchas director Neil Stephen said,

“When you look at photographs of Cameron square prior to the town hall being demolished in 1975, you can see what an important focal point and public space the square used to be, and could be again. There are beautiful historic buildings within Fort William – our job will be to create a civic building and space which stitches in to the fabric of the built environment and provides a wonderful facility.”

Fort William is regarded as the “outdoor capital of the UK” due to the variety of outdoor sports that take place in the area, including mountain biking, hillwalking and skiing. However, it has lacked indoor recreational amenities – which are much needed due to the famously wet climate.

There is a proposed opening date for the new facility of the summer of 2020, with an expectation that ten full time equivalent jobs will be created. Initial proposals will be on public display from 11am to 7pm on the 3rd to 5th October at the current building in Cameron Square where Mr MacDonald will be present to discuss all aspects of the project with anyone who is interested.

Dualchas Arran Challenge Update

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We are well underway with our training and fundraising. We’ve now had to raise the target twice due to people’s overwhelming generosity. Currently the target sits at £4,000. With over 2 months to go until the event there is still plenty of time to donate.

Our biggest donation so far was raised by Julie Carley on Sunday at a gig by Sharon’s favourite band Dan reed Network. Lots of people in the audience that night contributed a staggering £340.

People are taking the challenge seriously and are taking every opportunity to squeeze in some training – whether that’s at lunchtime, after work or the weekend.


Click here for our fundraising page.