The Striking Modern Buildings Redefining The Scottish Highlands

| © Nigel Rigden / Courtesy Of Rural Design
Tori Chalmers

Gone are the days when the only housing options available to those in Scotland were traditional buildings such as blackhouses and 18th-century white cottages. An ever-growing phenomenon, the Scottish Highlands and Islands are witnessing a new architectural trend — modern building designs that not only pay homage to Scottish vernacular architecture, but embrace the ways of contemporary society with a firm nod towards the future.

Courtesy Of Dualchas

Sleek, fluid and inoffensive to the natural environment, these modern buildings slip right into the astonishing surroundings and scenery unique to bonnie Scotland, thanks to the help of leading Scottish Architecture firms like Dualchas and Rural Design.

These pioneering firms are the brainchildren behind some of the most astonishing works of architectural art, while successfully welcoming key design elements like social, economic and environmental sustainability. Once more, these buildings represent a strong sense of cultural identity and unassumingly compliment the wild Scottish landscapes and tumultuous elements, rather than serving as an unwanted eyesore of a threat.

Courtesy Of Dualchas
The Tinhouse

The swathes of silver on the corrugated aluminium mirror the motion of the dancing waves and effervescence of the encompassing wispy clouds, a testament to the immense talents of Rural Design for creating a structure capable of complimenting the climate. Just as aesthetically appealing as the exterior, the interior is comprised of plywood cabinets, concrete floors, timber boarding, and contemporary accents, which render it a perfect fusion of past, present and future. On tap for all to appreciate, the Tinhouse is available to let for a holiday break.

Loch Maree, Turf House and Black House are just a few more examples of this revolutionary new train of architectural thought.

Turf House
Tinhouse Interior
Black House

RIAS award-winning architectural wizards Dualchas are another invincible contender in the contemporary Scottish architecture game. Fresh ideas, leading technology, revolutionary designs and a respectful outlook regarding place garner them well-deserved praise for their remarkable structures.

Worthy of a standing ovation, the Dualchas designed Colbost House is nestled in Waternish, Skye, with epic views of Dunvegan Bay and Harris. Split into four separate buildings — so to not detract from the all-seeing landscape — the concept of Colbost was conceived by drawing inspiration from a nearby black shed. Corrugated aluminium rooftop panels coated with protective black finish, concealed gutters, flush aesthetics, meticulously planned intricacies like the air-sourced heat pump and an impressive partition in the form of a 3 metre sliding oak screen, all add to the enormity of its appeal.

Interior wise, Dualchas more than often draw upon traditional Scottish accents like tweed, tartan and deer, before waving a simple contemporary wand, adding a sprinkling of charm and personality.


Each as breathtaking and intriguing as the next, The Shed, Scotasay, Cliff House, Faire Chaolais, and Black House possess otherworldly qualities, yet champion this uncanny ability of mingling with the natural environment, as if they have been there since the beginning.

The Shed
Borreraig Interior
Faire Chaolais

These masterpieces by Rural Design and Dualchas are a prime example of the notable shift in traditional Scottish Highland architecture from archaic and outdated, to contemporary and state-of-the art. Although visually futuristic in some respects, there’s no denying the reciprocal understanding between the buildings and accompanying land, with an unwavering appreciation of the past.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article