Redman + Sutherland’s ideal home for Shetland

A sketch of the winning entry.

Scalloway-based architect firm Redman + Sutherland has won a council competition to design the ideal house for Shetland’s challenging environment, it was announced today.

The site chosen for the Sustainable Housing Competition was Fullaburn in Bressay. It is currently on the council’s housing stock list, meaning it may be developed in the future, and is seen as a difficult site for housing.

The winning team at Redman + Sutherland was led by Iain and Suzanne Malcolmson, with assistance from Dunblane-based practice Locate Architects, which specialises in contemporary ecological designs.

The panel had to choose from 38 entries, 34 of which were from outside Shetland. The other designs which were shortlisted were from Professor Gokay Deveci, Richard Gibson Architects and Anderson, Bell + Christie.

Redman + Sutherland Architects’ plans were judged by the panel to be “exceptional in building design and creation of place”.

Their winning entry features a modern house complete with design features essential for 21st century living. These include a simple, economical shape; bright and airy open plan spaces with full length, south facing windows to maximise light and heat from the sun and, similarly, small north facing windows to minimise heat loss; high levels of insulation; and a garden with an area for cultivation and a greenhouse.

Architect Jim Sutherland from Redman + Sutherland said the team were “delighted” to have won.

He said: “It was quite a nice, interesting competition on sustainability and energy efficiency, which is something we’re very interested in.

“It’s very much a line that we’ve been heading towards; getting energy costs down is really important from all – economic and environmental – points of view, and we’re very much focused on that.”

He said that the project was “not dissimilar” to housing the firm had designed for schemes in Aith and Cullivoe, but was more of a progression towards the Passivehaus design, which applies specific construction standards for buildings which have excellent comfort conditions in both winter and summer.

Mr Sutherland said: “It really was a great opportunity to try and attack problems and think about things that you might not usually, and think about things afresh.

“Working with Chris Morgan from Locate Architects was also a great opportunity to learn good practice from someone who is at the leading edge [of the field] on the mainland.”

A spokesman for the council’s planning department said that building the house would be dependent on future funding availability but, it was hoped the plans could be realised at some point.

Head of planning Iain McDiarmid said: “Running the Sustainable Housing Competition is something we’ve been looking to do since we launched the first Shetland House Guidance & Advice booklet back in 2005.

“However, with 2010 being Shetland’s Year of Architecture as well as the year Shetland hosted the International Architecture Conference, we decided that it was the ideal time to launch the competition.”

Joining Mr McDiarmid on the judging panel was SIC head of housing Anita Jamieson, capital programme service manager Mike Finnie and Shetland Tenants Forum member Joann Johnson.

Mr McDiarmid said: “The winner was chosen using a combination of strict judging criteria set down by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland as well as a final presentation and interview.

“The judging process highlighted that we have some exceptional architectural talent in Shetland that clearly understand their difficult environment. This was evident in proposals that linked modern design to traditional forms and materials, including cladding options such as self-coloured harl, stone, timber and EPDM rubber making reference to a ‘tarry shed’!

“The winning entry being led by a Shetland practice showcases the skills and innovative thinking we have within our own community. We hope to build upon that in the future as we look to push the boundaries for sustainable design and architecture within Shetland.”


Add Your Comment
  • Billy Fox

    • March 30th, 2011 19:46

    Congratulations to architects Redman & Sutherland and in particular Iain and Suzanne Malcolmson on their winning design; not forgetting Locate Architects in Dunblane.

    Energy solutions begin at home, their award winning low energy design shows we have the talent in Shetland to pursue these solutions. It gives me genuine optimism for Shetland’s future role, I hope there is a way forward to seeing it built.

    Billy Fox
    Independent candidate
    for the Scottish Parliament 2011
    ZE2 9EY


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