White House, Isle of Coll

The existing ruin was all that remained of the 'White House', visited by Boswell and Johnston during their tour of the Hebrides in 1773. The ruin had some evident defects, with no roof or floors, rotten timber lintels and open joints throughout the masonry. Several large cracks had formed in the walls, the most dramatic being the 'lighting bolt' cleft down the south elevation.

This and the other wall movements were due to local subsidence, meaning consolidation would prove to be a major project in itself. The Architect was also keen to keep the main scars open and visible as a feature, so a series of stainless steel pictureframes were installed to act as ties and lintels to carry the masonry above and lock it together.

A new house was built in and around the ruins of the White House, Coll. The spectacular cleft ruin is to be consolidated and only partly occupied. A glazed living room link connects a wing of domestic accommodation to the west, which is sheltered by a massive gabion wall that extends into the landscape, reflecting the ancient patterns of enclosure.