It took a decade to complete, but the Grand Designs Strathaven Airfield project was worth the wait
Colin MacKinnon and Marta Briongos’ Strathaven airfield home in South Lanarkshire, Scotland was voted one of the 10 best new buildings north of the border by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. Colin, who is a former journalist, together with his partner Marta, run a microlight flying school from the airfield. The RIAS judges described this steel and glass home and workspace as cheerfully idiosyncratic. They also said the ‘light, airy and joyful building’ fitted in perfectly with its semi‐industrial hangar neighbours. The couple have named the house Aluminia Meadownia because it’s clad in corrugated aluminium and the airfield looks like a wild flower meadow in summer.
The architect flies in
Before moving to the airfield full time, Colin commuted from their previous home in Glasgow. As he and Marta already owned the land, building a house on the site seemed a logical step. Edinburgh‐based architect Richard Murphy’s design inspiration came from local agricultural and airfield buildings, alongside the work of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt. Glenn is known for his rugged aesthetic and use of precision‐cut steel. Richard, a keen microlight pilot, flew himself to the site.
Watch the episode: Strathaven Revisit, 2019
Three section layout
The first floor has the traditional 20th century Scottish layout of three sections. These include a bedroom and living room at either end of the space with the kitchen in the middle. This floor is where the couple spend most of their time. Consequently, the living room is overlooked by a mezzanine office platform, which Marta uses as an art studio. There’s even a swing for Marta to practice her aerial gymnastics. ‘I am an aerialist enthusiast and love to see the world upside down and hang from anything – and the beams are just too tempting!’ she said.