28th September 2016

Creating real construction projects in beautiful locations.

Conceived by a team of Scottish Architects, Tog Studio provide a unique on-site learning experience, addressing gaps missing from conventional education in the construction sector. The diverse teams have included professional architects and engineers looking for first hand construction experience; self-build enthusiasts seeking knowledge on how to take on a construction project; and students wanting learn how to design and detail buildings.

Tog House project is located on the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides on the West Coast of Scotland. The Tog House is a new-build extension to a traditional Tiree ‘Blacktop’ House, and although the extension is contemporary in its design, it pays homage to traditional details of these vernacular buildings that have evolved to resist the worst Atlantic weather.

Incorporating an aerodynamic curved ridge and recessed eaves to prevent uplift of the roof in high winds, meanwhile the timber frame and thick walls of natural insulation produce a comfortable interior environment that will meet modern energy performance standards. 

We at Thermafleece are very proud and pleased that our product has been used in The Tog House and have been speaking to Lynne Cox, co-founder of Tog who below explains the variety of reasons behind using Thermafleece for this project.

Breathable material

The external walls of the Tog House are designed to be ‘breathing’ walls.  This means that the wall, although highly insulated and airtight, is also designed to naturally release any moisture that happens to end up working its way inside.

Many modern buildings consist of layers of materials that are impermeable to moisture and should water vapour or rainwater work its way into the building fabric it can become trapped and consequently lead to mould growth and cause deterioration of the materials inside, such as rot in structural timber frame. 

By constructing a wall with an easy way out for moisture we can be confident that the materials in the wall build-up will be able to dry out and remain in good condition. This ability of the walls to ‘breathe’ and release moisture makes for a healthier building.  

Breathing walls are made up of materials that will naturally absorb and release moisture, and so we opted to use a combination of wood fibre board on the outside of the wall and sheep’s wool within the wall as insulation.

Natural Material

Choosing natural construction materials, such as sheep’s wool, has other benefits that we also took into consideration.  

Many other building products are manufactured from petrochemicals, have a high embodied energy or contain toxic preservatives that are known to off-gas into the surrounding environment.  Although these types of insulation products are highly effective as construction materials, their production has a negative impact on the environment and they will ultimately leave a legacy beyond the lifespan of the building when they do not biodegrade when they are disposed of and those preservatives used are absorbed into the soil.

During construction of the Tog House, if we were left with any offcuts and scraps from the Thermafleece we could be confident that these would break down in the soil without causing any harm to the environment.  The Tog House is being constructed on a remote Hebridean island with a large population of grazing sheep.  It was reassuring to know that if a strong wind caught some of the Thermafleece offcuts from site they might be blown next to tufts of wool scratched off by other sheep here and simply degrade in the same way.  Had we been working with a plastic insulation we would have been running after it!

Safe to work with

During the summer we have been running a ‘live-build’ construction school where we teach young architects how buildings are made through first hand experience of building a house. We have been running ‘live-build’ events for the last 6 years and this is the first project where we are constructing a fully insulated dwelling.  Having worked with other types of insulation that irritate your skin, or when cut they release harmful dust particles into the air, we were eager to avoid exposing the Tog Studio participants to these risks during the event. Working with sheep’s wool on site was a welcome alternative.  The inert qualities of this natural material gave us piece of mind that we wouldn’t be asking too much of those who were building with us and we wouldn’t need to wear the same degree of protective equipment install the insulation. 

British Product

Using a product that was grown and made in the UK was very appealing.  We like to support local enterprise and selecting a product that is sourced and made in the UK would help to reduce the overall carbon footprint of our project whilst benefiting the economy. 

Transport Costs

Transport costs are considerable when you live on a remote island.  Thermafleece was packaged into compacted rolls that are easy to handle and expand when they are opened.  This helped us to save on the overall volume of materials we would be paying to ship in for the project."

The Tog House is an on-going project; the exterior of the building is due to be weather tight in the autumn and the interior fit out will continue into spring 2017.   To keep updated on the progress of the Tog House you can follow the online photo diary on Instagram (@RootsArchitecture), Twitter (@Tog_Studio) or Facebook (@Tog Studio). To find out more about other Tog Studio projects or future live-build schools visit the Tog Studio website, email Tog at or phone Roots Architecture on 01879 220 482.

*Tog – A Gaelic word meaning: to build, raise educate and excite

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