Thomas Robin­son Ar­chi­tects


Here in Scot­land, we’ve seen an ex­plo­sion of gar­den rooms and mod­ernist ex­ten­sions in re­cent years. Th­ese are built to house of­fices, stu­dios, gyms and even swim­ming pools. Our de­sire for well­be­ing and fit­ness, and home­work­ing for a bet­ter work-life balance has im­pacted ar­chi­tects pos­i­tively.

Th­ese ad­di­tions tend to be in a more mod­ern style to the orig­i­nal home – a sleek sloped zinc roof, per­haps, and an ex­pan­sive glazed front. Where mod­ern meets tra­di­tional is an in­ter­est­ing place for an ar­chi­tect’s cre­ativ­ity to flour­ish. Mar­ry­ing two styles can be won­der­ful when el­e­ments of each com­ple­ment each other.

Take this stand-alone build­ing, pic­tured, which was de­signed to be a swim­ming pool and gym along­side a Scot­tish coun­try home with ex­pan­sive grounds. Its con­tem­po­rary ap­pear­ance sits well among the trees where the green­ery is re­flected back in the win­dows, and the tim­ber cladding nes­tles in har­mony with the wood­land around. In­side, the heated pool area is flooded with light. High-end pol­ished-lime­stone floor­ing and sand­stone walls give it a lux­u­ri­ous clean fin­ish, with a cedar ceil­ing to soften the at­mos­phere and present the idea of be­ing be­neath trees in the for­est.

An­other area where th­ese sleek mod­ernist ad­di­tions work well is in pub­lic spa­ces – a café added to a stately home or mu­seum is an in­creas­ingly com­mon one. It’s the ar­chi­tect’s job to make sure they don’t clash with any tra­di­tional styles in the area, and to marry up ma­te­ri­als, lines and styles so that there is al­ways co­he­sion be­tween old and new.

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