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Wednesday23 July 2014

Sutherland Hussey to masterplan Chinese city

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An award-winning Edinburgh firm that is yet to complete a project in its home city has been appointed to masterplan a small city in China

Sutherland Hussey was recently asked by Chinese authorities to begin masterplanning Chengdu eastern new town, a satellite city for the Sichuan capital of Chengdu intended to house 800,000 people.

Best known for its Ferry shelter on Tiree, which was Stirling-nominated and was judged the best building completed in Scotland in 2003 by the RIAS, the practice has already designed a £240 million museum in Chengdu, a scheme which is currently on site.

“It may be work for the next 10 years or for a relatively short five or six month period,” said practice founder Charlie Hussey. “But by any stretch of the imagination, this is a very exciting scale to be working at.

“The area is to the south-east of Chengdu and is a quarter which [local government] hopes will be self-sufficient… and a place for creative industries. It’s got a rail link direct to Beijing and by our standards is certainly the scale of a city.

“We’re co-ordinating with the planners and are working with a practice in Beijing to develop a whole strategy.”

Fellow Edinburgh architect Malcolm Fraser recently complained in the press that the Scottish capital is ignoring the best home-grown practices, and Hussey admitted he is mystified at the lack of opportunity there or in Glasgow.

“We’ve been around for 13 years and never built a single thing in either city,” he said. “I don’t know how Edinburgh or Glasgow work. The only projects we’ve completed in Scotland are the building in Tiree and a restoration of a printmaker’s building in Inverness.”

  • Brian Stewart, the former boss of RMJM, famous for leading work on the troubled Scottish Parliament building, has joined the Edinburgh firm Graeme Massie Architects.

Stewart, who worked on the Stirling Prize-winning, but hugely over budget, Holyrood scheme with Enric Miralles before leaving the firm in acrimonious circumstances in 2005, was appointed as a director after working as a consultant on several of Massie’s recent projects.

He will now help the six-strong practice expand internationally with both China and Russia on the firm’s radar.

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