Research project

Hybrid Housing Typologies for Off-Grid Rural Communities

MacroMicro Studio is building a body of work situated in the unique sociological and physical contexts of remote rural Scotland.

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Start date

September 2015

Completion date

May 2017

The process of research, analysis, making and testing will offer the opportunity to investigate the sustainable development of rural communities with the potential for autarky, the quality of being self-sufficient. Both the Isle of Eigg and Knoydart communities require alternative sustainable and economic models of housing that will inherently support their ambitions to build on their low-carbon rural settlement practices. Working from the briefing document developed by MacroMicro 2015/16 which clearly defines the parameters for development of sustainable housing concepts appropriate to the Isle of Eigg’s existing and future sustainability, the intention is to re-analyse and re-inforce the viability of these concepts and types in the alternative remote rural context of Knoydart.

The Knoydart Peninsula is one of the remotest places on mainland Britain and one of Scotland’s last great wilderness areas. It is also one of the last major areas on the mainland not to be connected to the road or electric grid network, with entry to the deep interior only possible by ferry or a long walk-in. Recently the capacity of the hydro-electric micro-grid system was upgraded to 250kW, with the remaining energy supplies (primarily heating and hot water) being supplied from biomass, oil and gas. Since its first business plan was undertaken in 1997, housing has been a key issue for the Foundation, and in 2006 a Housing Needs Survey was undertaken with a review of the sale of land process to protect the Foundation’s assets and increase the supply of affordable housing for ownership and rent.

There are a number of key objectives to the project:

  • conceptualise new hybrid-models of low energy design housing that will support affordable living on the Knoydart Peninsula in discourse with stakeholders and government agencies;
  • engaging with industry and supply chains, develop in detail a number of material and constructional solutions based on Knoydart’s forestry and timber production capacity;
  • produce a community sustainability and enablement plan in discourse with the Knoydart Foundation and Local Planning Authority


Project lead(s)

Carol Robertson