CHARLES Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh will reopen to the public on Saturday after being encased in a giant “box” to protect its saturated walls from further rain damage.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) stepped in after an infra-red survey showed the full extent of water saturation of the building

The “box”, designed by architects Carmody Groarke, is a vast semi-transparent shelter made from a steel frame weighing 165 tonnes swathed in chainmail made up of 32.4 million rings.

It will protect the house while allowing it to dry out and let conservators begin work. It could be in place for seven to 10 years.

The box design includes several walkways around the upper levels and over the roof, while NTS has also built a new cafe and visitor centre where people can find out more about the property’s history

Simon Skinner, chief executive of NTS, said: “The box is incredibly impressive in itself and being able to see the house from angles that Mackintosh could only dream of takes your breath away.”