The Building Principles would provide coherence, identity, proportion and beauty. In a general way these would be unique to An Camas Mòr giving it an appropriate and distinctive character in Rothiemurchus and the Cairngorms National Park. In a detailed way, they would help make each neighbourhood, street and house special, and provide the sense of shared appreciation, pride and value that leads to successful communities.
This Proposed Masterplan does not detail what buildings would look like, that would be determined following consultations with potential users and builders and the preparation of Detailed Design Guidelines. This report describes the purposes, mass, range of materials and any limits so that their impact can be assessed and it outlines the thought process that would lead to the detail later.
The starting point for designing buildings has to be life: to think about how buildings contribute to the sustainability of the community as a whole as well as their households.
A well-designed house is more than a building for sleeping and eating in. It has the potential to accommodate a wide range of life activities and in so doing can respond to change and growth, economic fluctuations as well as the needs of the environment, in times of climate and other change.
First of all, more than just a home, a house can also accommodate business premises. 'Living above the shop' can take many forms: from a small office within the home to an 'own door office' or shop space with direct access to the street. An outbuilding could also work as an office, studio or workshop and activities could spill out into the courtyard or garden.
The house also has the potential to be a small economic system: letting out part of the building or outbuilding, (for example to a seasonal worker) can make a significant contribution to the household income.
The subdivision of the house into units, which can be separated and have their own access, would allow the accommodation of a micro-community, whether for the extended family, typically the ' granny flat' , or a more complex shared ' co-housing' or other tenancy system. This would also allow for generational change, as the family can move around within a building responding to different needs at different phases in life.
The house complex would be able to accommodate many activities and the design would reflect this: large and small rooms, different access arrangements, different standards of finish to allow for different kinds of living arrangements, working, leisure, hobbies, etc. The house would also work as a storage facility, allowing the household to save and store things, such as furniture, toys, or family heirlooms, rather than throw them away, as well as accommodating other useful things for life such as tools and work equipment, bulky sports and outdoors, equipment, guest beds, etc. Additionally food and produce storage could be included.
The house and its plot however small can also be seen as an urban farm, with its kitchen garden, fruit trees, or just a deck with herbs in pots. Shelter and enclosure between buildings could allow for better growing conditions than would otherwise be normal. The house and plot can also be seen as a nature reserve, creating natural habitat by maximising their 'green factor', with sedum and turf roofs, particularly on lower buildings, bird boxes, vertical planting on walls etc., supplementing plants and trees in gardens.
The house has the potential to generate as well as store energy. Both passive and active methods can be considered.
The house and plot have the potential to be a water reservoir, collecting water for home use such as watering the garden or flushing the toilet, as well as containing storm water, preventing overloading of drains and flooding in times of extreme weather.