Culardoch Shieling, as this hut is known, sits unassumingly atop a small rise overlooking a valley cut by a winding stream in the Scottish Highlands, within the Cairngorms. The name is taken from the Scottish Gaelic for “hut,” in fact. Built for private owners by the architecture firm Moxon, Culardoch Shieling is a simple shelter meant to be as pure a reflection of the landscape as is possible.
The wood, minimally processed larch, is a nod to the humble barns and farm structures in the area. The moss and stone that make up the roof were collected from nearby hillsides. The hut’s rectangular windows were arranged to reflect specific views of looming mountains and rolling landscape from the long, communal spruce table inside the building. Pull up a chair, glance toward the wall, and no matter where you’re sitting, the window will be framing a mountain peak, a cleft in the hills, a curve of the river.
Approach the hut on foot and you may lose a visual. It blends into the gently sweeping hills nearby, peeking out as if part of the landscape itself. A puff of smoke from the fireplace, a flickering of candlelight from the windows, maybe the sound of someone chopping wood outside would be the first indication you were nearing the hut. Then the roof edges into view, you’re knocking the snow from your boots, pushing open the larch wood doors, and everything makes sense.