The Hill House is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most significant works, one of Scotland most acclaimed buildings, and a seminal part of early 20th century European architecture. Built in 1902 for the publisher Walter Blackie and his young family, it is sited in Helensburgh, 30km west of Glasgow, and commands panoramic views south over the River Clyde estuary.
Mackintosh’s domestic masterpiece sits like a 20th-century Scottish tower house, with its roughcast walls, slate roof, asymmetrical disposition of windows, picturesque roofline, and lack of historic ornament. The house proposed a radical layout and three-dimensional spatial progression, and although the architecture was embedded in the picturesque tradition of Scottish Baronial, Mackintosh was also clearly influenced by the contemporary technological advances of Modernism happening elsewhere in Europe. This unusual hybridisation of tradition and invention in the construction of the building has led to some fundamental long-term problems of prolonged water damage that require a major conservation project to help the house survive.