The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Compost shelter listed

Millbuies House, Edinburgh, 1955-60Last autumn the Society supported a proposition by Historic Scotland to list Millbuies House, an early example of energy saving house in Edinburgh. This is a 1955-60 scheme by Roberth Matthew of Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners (James Law-DunbarNasmith, project architect). This month the house was added to the Scottish Statutory List at Category B and the listing specifically includes the dovecot and the 1961 compost shelter. Historic Scotland note in their list description:

Millbuies House, Edinburgh: compost shelter, 1961“Millbuies is an innovative and experimental energy saving house and a rare surviving example of early post-war Modernist design in Scotland. The house is also the only post-war domestic commission by renowned architect Sir Robert Matthew. The house retains many original fixtures and fittings, including an early use of double glazed units, which did not become prevalent in the UK until the 1960s.

“Millbuies was designed for the philanthropist George Boyd Anderson and his wife Kathleen, who had a keen interest in experimental energy conservation, gadgets, gardening. The design of the house was combination of these interests. The building was designed with double and triple glazing, underfloor heating, wind turbines, internal and external shutters and the ceiling tiles of some rooms were coated in a reflective mateiral to reflect the heat. The energy consumption could be monitored per room, with monitors situated in the garage. As well as utilising up-to-date technology the house is designed to benefit from the natural features of the landscape.”


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