MAKAR was established in 2002 by well known Scottish architect, Neil Sutherland. After leading a multi award-winning architecture practice in the Highlands of Scotland for many years, Neil spotted an opportunity to expand his architectural services to include the construction of buildings. Using his prior training in manufacturing techniques, this step forward has facilitated greater continuity between the drawn and built building by ensuring that all aspects of the build are controlled in-house and match the high standards of the architectural design.
This streamlined method of producing buildings represents a step change in the way buildings are delivered, provides opportunities for cost efficiencies in the building process and a more integrated service for clients.
Specialising in timber frame construction, MAKAR recruited highly skilled joiners from Europe to mentor local apprentice joiners in the craft of wood working. This investment in skills payed off on site with the production of bespoke Scottish timber building made by a workforce of versatile joiners who could solve any problems that arose during construction.
MAKAR are inspired by the architecture of alpine regions of Austria, which use home grown timber on a far greater industrial scale than in Scotland. MAKAR has been steadily making advances in its use of Scottish timber as a primary building material. As the company expanded it has developed a system of standardised structural panel components which have significantly advanced the construction speed whilst maintaining flexibility to create bespoke spaces aligned with client needs.
In June 2012, MSP Fergus Ewing opened MAKAR's 450 square metre workshop which was erected on site in 10 days. Incorporating a 3 tonne gantry crane, this £400,000 investment in facilities made it possible for wall, roof, and floor panels up to 10m in length to be assembled and delivered to site for erection. This upscale in in-house production capabilities has enabled MAKAR to produce up to 20 to 30 houses in one year, making it possible for MAKAR to take on multiple house developments efficiently.
MAKAR's innovative work with Scottish timber has led the company to collaborate on research projects with Edinburgh Napier University's Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures to further home grown timber products and construction techniques. This has included the production and testing of Scottish Brettstapel panels, the use of acetylated timber ground beams, and the development of a large span ridge beam truss. This refinement of construction technology is ongoing and will continue to benefit MAKAR's future projects.