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  • Residence 3
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  • Residence 5

The Residences at John O’Groats


Natural Retreats




£100k per unit

Brief and Response

The brief for the 23 self-catering lodges at John O'Groats was to take the unit our client, holiday destination developer Natural Retreats, had developed for another site, retain the good, lose the bad, and build it for £100,000. On top of this it had to survive one of the harshest coastlines in the UK, be sustainable in all ways and deliver buildings easy to operate and attractive to guests. As Construction Managers for the project, we were up for the challenge.

Our approach was to keep elements that added value and lose those that didn’t. We packaged the works to allow design and procurement to run in parallel and worked with local manufacturers and suppliers (Norscot,, Ashley Ann, Russwood,) using their knowledge to drive value from the technical detail and materials choices. Where the market wouldn’t give value, such as the sedum roof, we invented our own, guided by a Liverpudlian wildflower charity.

The cottages are simple to make and maintain and disappear into the landscape. The living roofs reduce the impact from the main southern approach. The internals are spacious where they have to be and efficient where they do not. The glass screens, which showcase the whole reason for travelling to John O Groats, are amongst the largest in Caithness.