Projects / The Black Shed (working title)

2018 ongoing
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The existing Black Shed (left) at Lawson Park

In its research & development phase at present, this project will see a diverse team of professionals and amateurs collaborate to design, build and furnish a compact house. The house will be compact, sympathetic to its rural context, architecturally exemplary and environmentally sustainable. A diverse team of professionals and amateurs will collaborate to design, build and furnish the house. For reasons of under-representation within Grizedale Arts and within the sectors relevant to the project the delivery team will be all women.

In response to recent development ideas, it has become clear that additional, more flexible accommodation at Lawson Park would be an asset. As an existing structure that occupies a discreet spot close to access tracks and the main Lawson Park buildings, the Black Shed presents itself as the best option for a site or structure to build on or refurbish. Lawson Park’s main hostel sleeps a maximum of 6 people in 4 ensuite rooms. However, an additional small house could allow small groups, families, artists and other individuals with dependents to visit and stay at Lawson Park independently whilst the main hostel is occupied, experiencing much of the communal activity on offer in the main building. The project will also produce an occasional income stream from short lets to visitors.

The process of designing and building this replacement structure offers exciting opportunities for a new project that can bring together architects, artists, self-builders and engineers to create a unique rural dwelling. The project will also address concerns recently identified in community consultation with Coniston Village: in particular, the challenge of identifying and producing rural housing suitable for both younger and older people.

Research & Development Programme

The Black Shed team is currently undertaking an extensive and comprehensive research programme, working in close consultation with a range of architecture practices, individual experts, universities and training courses in the North West and in London.

Participants in this stage of the project will draw up provisional briefs for the building of the house, identify and begin work with those who might wish to be involved with the build itself, and analyse questions of structural inequality relating to gender, race and class within the respective industries. The goal is to bring together groups and individual people who identify as women, who might not typically find the chance to work together, in order to creatively approach the design and building processes.

These partner groups and organisations include Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Muf Architecture, Cany Ash, Lancaster Environment Centre, University of Cumbria, and The School of Natural Building.

The core focus for the research is on ecological concerns and sustainability, histories of feminist organising, accessibility, and questions of care. 

The research & development programme runs from April–August 2019, and will include 6 workshops with host organisations. It will also include a display of research during the Lawson Park Open Weekend on Sunday 30th June, in which visitors can meet with the team, discuss forthcoming plans and find out more about how to become involved.

Workshops based in the North West will be joined by women from universities, schools, trade and building courses and apprenticeships, and will feed into ongoing plans for future stages of the project. London based workshops will be advisory consultation sessions, in which plans for the Black Shed are collectively designed as a way of thinking through the themes above. 

The first North West workshop will be run in partnership with Muf Architects at Coniston Institute on the 15th June. 

If you are a builder, architect, artist, researcher, or student and would like to get involved, please email blackshedproject@gmail.com for more information. The Black Shed team are Georgia Battye, Angharad Davies, Siobhan Forshaw and Rhianon Morgan Hatch

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