London-based firm Carmody Groarke and the National Trust for Scotland have celebrated the public launch and debut of The Box in Helensburgh. Designed for the Hill House by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the project was made to conserve one of Scotland’s most important buildings. First announced in late 2017, the endeavor aims to preserve the building and its iconic facade from extensive moisture damage.
The Hill House was designed and built between 1902 and 1904 as a residence for publisher Walter Blackie. Billed by Mackintosh as a “home for the future,” the design represented a rift from the Victorian and Edwardian styles that were popular at the time, favoring a simpler exterior made from Portland cement. The result was a smooth, flat facade that could be viewed as a precursor to Modernism. Since it was built over a century ago, The Hill House has been absorbing rain, putting the building and its unique interiors at risk.
As explored by the WSJ Magazine, the semi-permanent Box enclosure will provide shelter to The Hill House, letting it dry out after years of disintegration and allowing for further conservation work to take place. As well as protecting the building from the weather, the Box will give visitors the chance to get a new perspective on The Hill House from elevated walkways looping around the building. The temporary pavilion is designed to allow the Hill House to remain visible in the landscape and breathable, which will enable to facade system to dry naturally.
“The National Trust of Scotland are adopting a very bold approach to the conservation of the Hill House; one that is radical and experimentative in seeking new methods to extend the lifespan of our heritage, and one that invites public interaction and interpretation of these processes,” said Andy Groarke, founding partner of Carmody Groarke. “We are very proud to play a part in this pioneering project of theirs and to have a chance to learn at first-hand about Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s residential masterpiece.”