Throughout much of modern Europe the longhouse has been the dominant building form for millenia. The Neolithic longhouse type was introduced with the first farmers of central and western Europe around 5000 BCE—7000 years ago. Later developments were the Viking langhus, German and Dutch Fachhallenhaus and the tyddtn of Cornwall and Wales.
In developing our designs we first examined the taighean dubha (black houses) of the Scottish Hebrides. These were originally byre dwellings with central fires, a narrow plan and limited openings. Made of stone and turf, they were warm and often spacious, being built in a variety of sizes. However, as with many longhouses in Europe, they were eventually replaced by more modern dwellings.
There are though many lessons to be learned from all these buildings. These have been applied to our long house designs which are as relevant today as they have ever been. In doing so we hope to contribute to the re-establishment of this wonderful housing typology.
The narrow form of the longhouse allows the building to slot into a slope easily, reducing excavation costs and disfigurment of the landscape. Originally the land would act act as a shield from the prevailing winds, greatly reducing heat loss from wind action. This still holds true today.
Internally our houses reflect the spacious, open-plan nature of many historic longhouses. Superfluous spaces that are found in modern houses, such as a formal reception halls and a separate dining rooms, can be eliminated, saving money and creating open plan living. The kitchen becomes central - the heart of the home; and a stove can act as the focal point to the living area. As with all longhouses, the main space is open to the apex of the roof, which adds drama, something usually sadly lacking in kit-houses.
However, new building methods and technologies means that our houses can be opened up with large areas of glazing, making the building feel larger and framing magnificent views. This was not considered in the past - essentially because people were working outdoors during daylight hours. Modern lifestyles and additional leisure time means that enjoying our beautiful landscapes through glazed walls, is a must for today's buildings.
May 20, 2013
Successful show for HebHomes
HebHomes would like to thank the hundreds of people who visited our stall at the homebuilding and Renovation Show in Glasgow over the weekend. Director Alasdair Stephen said, "It was ...