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.
Over the last decade, Sutherland Hussey Architects has grown dynamically as a practice, receiving critical acclaim for buildings such as the bold 'An Turas' ferry passenger shelter on the Scottish island of Tiree, which was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, won RIAS' 'Best Building in Scotland' award and featured on a recent Royal Mail postage stamp.
Within the last decade, Charlie Sutherland and Charlie Hussey have completed a wide range of projects often within an art context. They recently completed a private house for GA director Adam, the Forestry Commission's new Visitor Centre within Grizedale Forest; and are working on a large city museum in Chengdu, Sichuan (China) and a complete town also in China. Sutherland and Hussey worked together for James Stirling and his influence remains a clear reference in much of their work - in particular in the use of contrasting forms and materials, strong colour and an ingenious use of space. Happily, the visual jokes have yet to make an appearance.
Their creative approach seems at ease within historic and rural contexts as well as the classic urban 'destination architecture' of 21st century regeneration culture.
The choice of the iconic 14th century Lawson Park Farm as GA's main base was informed by a number of practical and philosophical issues around how the organisation wanted to place itself within the rural context and the wider arts and cultural communities. The remoteness of she site itself, the tightly controlled planning regulations of the Lake District National Park, the small project budget and the needs of GA's staff and resident artists contributed to a challenging brief. The redevelopment took some 18 months, opening finally in summer 2009.