Located on the west side of Grizedale Forest, Lawson Park overlooks Coniston Water and across the lake to Coniston village, framed by a backdrop of craggy mountain peaks.
An historic Cumbrian hill farm, located in John Ruskin’s home lands at Brantwood, was established in 1338 by Furness Abbey to supply wool as part of the abbey’s production chain. Since its decline as a working sheep farm in the early 20th Century it has been used for a variety of purposes including a holiday home and a hostel for Liverpool University. Grizedale Arts have been using the farm since 2000 for hosting artists and projects, but have developed the whole site as the new headquarters for the organisation. The renovated buildings provide residential accommodation and research facilities for artists, curators and Grizedale guests, along with small scale conference facilities, warden’s accommodation and a site office.
The organisation of the building developed the existing linear form into the private cellular bedrooms bookending the central split section of interlocking social spaces. The mixture of intimate and grand spaces also allows for the diverse activities that periodically occur from conferences, lectures, dining, to cheese making and bacon curing. This is a purposefully sculpted response, giving a strong definition of light and shade to an essentially hermetic interior; a common problem when converting existing barn buildings.
RIBA Award 2011