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An Artists’ Folly, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Part 1 Project 2011
Eliot Foy
Mackintosh School of Architecture, UK
A fantastical Gothic revival house, and seat of the venerable Crichton-Stuart family, the extensive gardens of Mount Stuart House - on the Isle of Bute, in the Scottish Highlands - are host to my proposal for an arthouse. Articulating a historical narrative, and evocative of the eighteenth century garden folly, the scheme is uniquely influenced by its picturesque landscape.

The site, originally a tennis court, takes the form of an oval lawn, accessed by a series of ornate steps, and bounded on either side by a path, and tree lined avenue.

This formality suggested the building’s form, with a sculpturally articulated wall defining a journey, creating studio and living spaces, and augmenting the sublime and intimate qualities intrinsic to its context.

The arthouse schedule complements the existing Mount Stuart arts programme, begun in 2001, providing accommodation for one lead artist, and six apprentices, with associated studio space. An analysis of activity was paramount to understanding the practicalities and poetics of not only the creative process, but of ‘living’ itself; I explored artists’ spaces, the act of dining with others, and the experience of solitude, to devise a plan uniquely suited to purpose.

This is supplemented by an ambitious ‘off grid’ environmental strategy, as the practical - and poetical - embodiment of ‘retreat’.

Eliot Foy


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