Construction is officially underway on a pioneering project designed to save the Hill House – regarded as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece.
Robertson has started building a unique ‘Box’ which will envelop the famous building in Helensburgh to protect it from the elements as part of the National Trust for Scotland’s ambitious restoration plans.
A truly unique construction project, it will see an innovative chainmail structure erected around the building over the course of the next six months. Designed by architects Carmody Groarke, the mesh pavilion will help the Hill House dry out after more than a century of absorbing rain, allowing further conservation work to be carried out on the famous house.
Once work on the ‘Box’ is completed in spring next year, it will then open to visitors who will be able to use the raised walkways to see the Hill House from a new angle while offering views over the Clyde estuary.
The Hill House was built in 1904 for publisher Walter Blackie – and to mark the start of the construction of the ‘Box’, representatives of the National Trust for Scotland and Robertson were joined by his granddaughter, Ruth Currie.
Ed Parry, Managing Director, Robertson Central West, said: “It is an absolute privilege to be leading the construction of such a unique project. The Hill House is precious to us all and the ‘Box’ will play a pivotal role in allowing vital restoration work to take place.”
The National Trust for Scotland launched a ‘Box the Hill House’ campaign in February of this year, which aimed to raise £1.5m towards the total cost of the ‘Box’ – to date, more than £1.3m has been raised, with fundraising continuing.
Richard Williams, General Manager for Glasgow and West at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Mackintosh was a pioneer and a visionary and we’re reflecting that spirit in our approach to saving his domestic masterpiece.
“This is a project that has been many, many years in the making and it is wonderful to be at the point that we’re now seeing work begin to save such a significant place. What we’re doing here is a rescue plan for the long term and will, we’re sure, protect this incredible building for future generations.”
The Hill House project, being delivered by Robertson, was procured through Scape Venture, a collaborative procurement consultancy and construction route, which supports public/private partnerships and the charity sector achieve best value in their programmes of work.
Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “These careful conservation works will preserve and celebrate an important piece of our culture and history. Robertson have a strong track record of restoring heritage sites, a great example of which is the Spanish City restoration in Whitley Bay.
“By procuring the project through Scape Venture, National Trust for Scotland will benefit from time and cost certainty, with strong project performance derived from collaboration also securing value for money.”
Donations to the ‘Box the Hill House’ appeal can be made online at: https://www.nts.org.uk/Campaign/Help-us-save-the-Hill-House