Latest News

Two award shortlistings for neighbours

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Dualchas are delighted to see that two of our housing projects in Armadale; Isle of Skye are shortlisted for the Saltire Society Housing Design Award. An Cala and The Black House.

These projects sit side by side on the southern coast of the island. Developed by different project architects, each building has a unique approach with connecting to the shoreline whilst maximising views across to Mallaig and over to Knoydart.

The Saltire Society shortlistings are available here.

Click the images below to be taken to each project page.

Dualchas win RIAS Award

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Dualchas are delighted to announce that The Black House, Armadale; Isle of Skye was awarded a RIAS Award last night. This award showcases the project as one of the ten best buildings in Scotland for 2019. This award is a credit to all those involved.

The judges noted that Dualchas had “succeeded in creating a calm, inviting and exceptional home”.

Through winning this award the project will form part of the long list for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, which will be announced in October.

BBC News article can be read here.

Vacancy – Architect

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Architect sought for our busy office, based in the south of Skye.


Applicants would require post Part 3 experience running jobs with good technical and contractual knowledge.
Applicants should be good all-rounders and be self-motivated with a desire to work and travel in the rural Scotland and the Hebrides.
Salary – based on experience.


Please contact our Office Manager, Nicola –

Closing date for applications 31st May 2019.

Double whammy of award shortlistings

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We are delighted to have the Black h; Harlosh, Isle of Skye shortlisted for the Architects Journal Small Project Awards 2019 and also the Blackhouse; Armadale, Isle of Skye shortlisted for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award 2019 for best building in Scotland. Both projects showcase Dualchas’ take on a modern vernacular and how our buildings work at different scales.

We are up against some fantastic projects up and down the country and are looking forward to finding out the final results.

Black h; Harlosh, Isle of Skye.

Blackhouse; Armadale, Isle of Skye

Highland Cinema Site Clearance Underway

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This week saw the demolition of the Cameron Centre building on Cameron Square in Fort William town centre. This important site is the location for the proposed new Highland Cinema.


Cameron Square is one of a number of squares laid out on the south side of Fort William High Street.

The square was formerly the location of a church, which was adapted in the early 1900s to become the Scots Baronial town hall. The centre of the square was also home to the large Dr Kennedy’s Monument, a gothic construction erected in 1852 and removed in 1965.


The Town Hall was burnt-out in 1975 and the Town Council sold the site in the early 1980s, when the Cameron Centre building was built.


In more recent years the building operated only as a shop on the ground floor and the cinema above had been closed for 12 years. A number of schemes have looked at re-using the building but accessibility, circulation and maintenance issues along with the imposing form of the building provided challenges to creating a viable project.


Dualchas and our team look forward to delivering the Highland Cinema in 2020. This will consist of a large café-bar on the square, with two cinema screens and other facilities located to the rear. The project will add to the recent regeneration of Fort William High Street, with the creation of much-needed modern facilities.

Living Wage and the Scottish Business Pledge

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Dualchas are proud to say that we have become an Accredited Living Wage Employer. Accreditation means that we pay all of our staff the Real Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation.


Dualchas has also recently become a signatory to the Scottish Business Pledge. This is a partnership between business and the Scottish Government, through a voluntary code of practice to support sustainable business growth in Scotland.


We have always been a company that believes in fairness, innovation and opportunity. We strive to offer our staff a good place to work, where they are fulfilled and productive. By offering a vibrant, inclusive and flexible environment we believe that our staff feel happier, valued and supported.


We have a great team here at Dualchas and it is intended that our collaborative approach translates into open communication and high-quality creative work for our clients.

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.