Neil Sutherland Architect

Address Neil Sutherland Architects /MAKAR, Clachandreggy Torbreck, Dores Road, Inverness IV2 6DJ, Scotland, UK

Telephone: 01463 709993

Fax: 01463 709515


Expanding company has designs on a Highland legacy

A Highland based architect is making an impassioned plea for the design and construction industry to work in an integrated manner to create an environmentally inspired and accountable legacy for the future.

Neil Sutherland leads a team at integrated architectural practice and construction company, MAKAR, at Torbreck, Inverness. MAKAR is an old Scots word that signifies quality, creativity and craftsmanship. The team’s inspiring designs and ideas come from an understanding of nature and ecology which creates buildings that are sympathetic to the environment, landscape, economy and community of the Highlands.

The two companies, Neil Sutherland Architects LLP and MAKAR Ltd will amalgamate by the end of the year to create one stronger organisation. They will continue to focus on one outcome; to create great buildings and places. Neil said: “Being design driven and having high standards isn’t enough, you need to be able to deliver design intention. This is why we integrate design, fabrication and the assembly of our houses and other buildings as we do.

“We often refer to the whole sector as being like an orchestra without a conductor. By this we mean that the individual skills of designers, suppliers, contractors and others in the sector are often individually good, but the way in which they relate to each other is so fragmented they do not play to the same tune. In turn, this makes it more challenging to achieve great buildings and places.

“If we make the most of our renewable resources in the Highlands and respond to them in appropriate ways we can develop regionally distinctive communities. The alternative is to use up valuable finite resources with little thought about what will happen in the future while we build houses and places with little character or distinction.

“It is possible for the construction industry to work more effectively but it will take a change in cultural attitude. In our view this includes balancing the seemingly unrelated strands of ecology, economy and equitable business.

“Where we live, and the quality of internal and external spaces has an intrinsic effect on the whole quality of our lives. Simple things such as the amount of natural light, natural chemical free building materials, where the building is placed in relation to the sun and surrounding features all have an enormous impact on our health and well being.

“If we give high standards in design a higher priororty, it will create a healthier and happier environment. A client recently remarked that he no longer suffers from the holiday blues because he and his family return to a home that they love living in. How many people can honestly say that when they return home they feel truly welcomed and nourished by their home?”

Neil Sutherland Architects and MAKAR are a team of 22 people. They’ve recently held an open day for around 150 local suppliers, clients, agency staff, academics and local associates at their new purpose built workspace to encourage some of the industry to work more closely. The workspace has been specifically designed and constructed to make the most of the daylight, and to encourage productivity through creating a comfortable and vibrant working environment. Neil wants to give people the opportunity to directly experience architecture by making it more attainable, as architecture can be perceived as exclusive.

MAKAR has recently launched its new website which has been developed to enable greater client interaction and involvement. Neil says it’s quite a unique concept: “We set out with the website to convey the message that to commission anew home or building doesn’t need to be a stressful or miserable experience. We have intentionally avoided the usual unresponsive catalogue house approach where a customer has four of five standard options to choose from. Our approach aims to fuse the three strands necessary to get place-making right; individual customer requirements, context of the site, and a flexible delivery method. This new website will enable clients to customise their home. They can choose from arrange of building elements in order to derive an understanding of technical, aesthetic and cost issues.

“In away we want to demystify the art of architecture and house building so that we can inspire people to play amore active role.

“We want people to be inspired about the house building process so that they can help to create something with character that brings them joy, elegance, functionality, vibrancy and energy. Whilst we operate as a commercial business we work in an ethical and sustainable way to ensure that we are creating buildings and places which represent a better future for individuals, families and the Highlands as a whole.”

Neil Sutherland Architects and MAKAR are currently working on plans for a mixed-use housing, home-working and business settlement in Easter Ross. They anticipate the construction phase will begin in around two years’ time.

NSA /MAKAR provides the following services:

  • Architectural design
  • Planning consultancy
  • Landscape & garden design
  • Off-site fabrication and modern methods of construction
  • Local timber supply
  • Interior design
  • Contract administration & project management
  • Lead consultant
  • Timber systems research
  • Carbon efficient and low energy design
  • Master planning & design frameworks

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