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- Date Added
- Local Authority
- Planning Authority
- NO 48820 4073
- 348820, 704073
Trevor Dannatt, 1964-67. Single-storey, rectangular-plan Modernist house on the footprint of an earlier house in an open parkland setting, with Goodall Cottage, garden walls and terraced areas forming a set-piece.
HOUSE: Predominantly squared and snecked sandstone rubble. Some brick sections, painted white. Horizontal timber-clad canopies. South elevation: long, full-height glazed curtain-wall. High-level windows set back within the roofline above. Shallow pitched roof, extending to the far right above recessed veranda. North (courtyard) elevation: timber panelled door to right of centre with narrow, full-height glazed margin light to right. Metal doorbell and light-switch plate and concrete light box. High-level, narrow horizontal glazing to left with stepped timber fascia above. To west, sectional block orientated at right-angle to main block, with over-hanging mono-pitch roof, full height glazing, over-hanging eaves to west and tall, square-plan brick chimney stack (painted white). Timber and aluminium frames to plate-glass windows throughout.
INTERIOR: largely intact, characterised by high-quality boarded timber surfaces and finishes with integrated fixtures and fittings. Recessed light fittings, glazed margin lights and sliding cupboards. Oak-panelled floors and ceilings to main living, dining and gallery areas. Step to sectional living room with recessed fireplace with floating mantel and brick flue; off-centre timber beam support with horizontal beams near ceiling height; pine panelled ceiling. Quarry tile floor to kitchen with fitted cupboards, shelves; heavy oak drop-down shutter to serving hatch with integrated hotplate between kitchen and dining area. Fitted cupboards and shelving units to bedrooms and dressing room. Toe-to-toe beds to NE corner room. Full-height storage cupboards to rear corridor; concertina shutter to lower window. Oil-fired boiler in basement.
GOODALL COTTAGE: (Grid Ref: NO 48795, 04087): single-storey, rectangular-plan, mono-pitch house, stylistically echoing the principal house on a smaller scale with reconstructed rubble wall to west elevation; horizontal window at cut-out section with timber-clad infill structure to roof height. White painted brick walls and overhanging eaves to garden and south end elevations. Tall square-plan brick stack. Screen wall extends to south.
GARDEN WALLS AND OUTBUILDING: reconstructed sandstone and brick walls to terraces, gardens and courtyard areas. Small, flat-roofed, brick outbuilding (Grid Ref: NO 48793, 04074) adjoining east wall of raised walled garden area to the south of the cottage.
Statement of Special Interest
Pitcorthie House is one of the Scotland's most exceptional Modernist houses of the 1960s. Designed by the influential British Modernist, Trevor Dannatt (b. 1920) in 1964, it is a rare complete example of his domestic work and his only private commission in the country.
Pitcorthie embodies many key ideals of European and American 20th century Modernist house building. There is a route of inter-penetrating spaces surrounding a central service core, a concept first envisioned in early 20th century Vienna by Adolf Loos. Open-plan bedroom and study areas can be enclosed by large movable shutters which extend across a glazed gallery space towards full-height south-facing windows. The flexible and ambiguous use of space ties in with the Modernist concept of 'transparency', influenced in turn by Japanese domestic architecture. Pitcorthie House is a fully-realised early example of this type of fluid spatial planning in Scotland.
The influence of eminent mid-century Modernists, Marcel Breuer and Richard Neutra in America, can also be seen in the design. This is particularly evident in the harmonious use of various materials and surface treatments. Stone, glass, brick, timber and metal are used to balance horizontal and vertical planes, internally and externally. Natural light is utilised in a controlled way to help define the interior spaces. Narrow windows darken the north service side of the house and contrast with the full-height glazed wall and bright gallery and living areas to the south and west.
Close attention to detail can be seen throughout the building with bespoke doors, shutters and other fixtures and fittings. The raised living area features an exposed brick flue chimneypiece with chamfered mantel and an off-centre timber post and horizontal beam acting as a space divider. The kitchen, dressing room and bathrooms at the core of the building are lit by high-level windows with a remote-operated mechanism. Louvered vents in the floor allow heat to rise from oil-fired space heating in the basement. The house remains substantially unaltered since its completion in 1967.
Trevor Dannatt is an important figure in British Modernist architecture, not only as a designer, but also as a theorist, educator and writer on the subject, championing an all-embracing approach. In the March 1969 Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Dannatt wrote that "every building can be regarded as a stage in the development of its type and at the same time a special case". His writings include the book 'Modern Architecture in Britain' (1959), and he edited the Architects' Year Book series between 1949 and 1962. The 'Laslett House' (1958) in Cambridge is a private house by Dannatt which also survives largely unaltered.
To the north of the house is a service cottage, named after the estate stonemason Grant Goodall who lived in it for many years. It echoes the design of the main house using contrasting materials and similar forms such as the fireplace and chimney, on a more modest scale. The cottage and landscaped courtyard are integral to the design, informing a Modernist architectural set-piece.
The house and cottage are orientated on the footprint of a classical mansion house which was destroyed by fire in the mid 20th century. The new Pitcorthie House was commissioned by Lord Balneil, later Earl of Crawford, to serve as a holiday home on the family estate. The house was constructed over a period of years under the direction of Mr Goodall. Sandstone rubble from the earlier building on the site is used as low-level wall and terracing to define the garden areas. The remains of the former 19th century stable block to the north, with a round archway at its centre, has been converted more recently to accommodation.
Old Pitcorthie House evident on Ordnance Survey Maps (1855, 1895, 1938). M Webb (30 May 1968) 'Pitcorthie House, Fife', Country Life, vol.143. T Dannatt (1972) Buildings and Interiors: 1951-72. J Gifford (1992) The Buildings Of Scotland - Fife, Penguin Books: London, p342. R Stonehouse (ed - 2008), Trevor Dannatt, Works and Words, Black Dog Press: London, p65-70.
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Printed: 18/12/2018 12:49