Carmody Groarke builds chainmail enclosure for Mackintosh’s Hill House

A mesh box has been placed over Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Hill House in Scotland, allowing the building to remain on show while it undergoes essential restoration work.

The “Hill House Box” forms a protective enclosure around the home Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh designed for the publisher Walter Blackie and his family in 1902, which now needs significant conservation work to repair water damage. The restoration is expected to take up to 15 years to complete, and rather than close the building to visitors during this time, Carmody Groarke devised this semi-transparent structure to give a new perspective on the house.

View of Hill House from inside the mesh enclosure. Photo Johan Dehlin
View of Hill House from inside the mesh enclosure. Photo Johan Dehlin

Located just a few miles outside Glasgow in Helensburgh, the house was designed to enjoy views over the River Clyde estuary, and a flight of steps built into the temporary enclosure wraps up and around the house to visitors the same vistas. The elevated walkways bring visitors close to the house’s characteristic slate roof and white rough-cast walls, as well as giving them a chance to glimpse conservation work taking place.

“Rather than incarcerate the house away from view whilst the restoration is undertaken, a more radical approach to active conservation has been taken,” says the practice, which is led by Kevin Carmody and Andy Groake. “As an integral part of this process of conservation, which it is thought could take up to 15 years, the project proposes a ‘big-box’ temporary museum to contain and protect the Hill House as an ‘artefact’, whilst also maintaining access to the house for visitors.”

Hill House Box
Carmody Groarke
Project management:
Gardiner & Theobald
Structural engineer:
Price and Myers
Building services:
Irons Foulner
Below ground drainage:
David Narro Associates
Fire engineering:
Atelier Ten
Cost consultant and princple designer:
Gardiner & Theobald
Principle contractor:
Robertson Construction

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