Lawson Park is situated in an elevated position
on the Eastern side of Coniston Water, in grounds
of around 6 acres. With parts dating back to the medieval period,
the main building has been a charcoal-burning hut, a farm, a hostel
and a hunting / holiday lodge before becoming the headquarters for
Grizedale Arts in 2009 after a complete
refurbishment to create 4 artists live/work spaces and a warden's
In 1999, new director Adam Sutherland had arrived in post to find the organisation of Grizedale Arts based within the Forestry Commission's Grizedale Forest Centre, whilst artists lived at Summerhill, a 'Bed & Breakfast' style house at Hawkshead Hill, some 20 minutes drive away. Workshop and studio space - by now rather tired - was provided at the Centre, reflecting the historic link with the Forest as a primary site for the artists' output.
Sutherland Hussey Architects (SHA) first encountered Grizedale Arts (GA) informally, as architect Charlie Sutherland is the brother of GA director Adam. They had previously worked together in 1996/7 on the refurbishment of the gallery 'art.tm' in Inverness, Scotland.