The Architecture Ensemble

Farleys yard

Farley Farm, in Chiddingly. East Sussex, was the stay-over place for an impressive group of Surrealist and Modern artists seeking refuge at the farm owned by Roland Penrose and Lee Miller. The visitors included the likes of Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Antoni Tapies, and Echaurron Matta. Amongst British visitors were Eileen Agar, Kenneth Armitage, William Turnbull, John Craxton, and Richard Hamilton. Many of these artists left permanent traces of their visits within the house and garden which is little known but open to the public on a limited basis.

The aim of the Farleys Yard project is to turn the adjacent farmyard into a new mixed-arts facility including artists' residences and studios, a classroom for schoolchildren, and a centrepiece gallery space capable of accommodating modern visual arts through to music and performing arts. All the new buildings would be visually linked to the original farm house and integrated into the surrounding landscape.

The original plans called for a timber gridshell gallery space in which the curved form would echo the hills of the nearby South Downs creating a free-form set of curvilinear spaces within which would be a multi-use gallery, a cafe, and a farm shop to serve local people. Artist's live-work units are to be located next to the gallery forming a fourth side to a shared external courtyard. An open-air amphitheatre is to be carved into the slightly sloping hill falling away to the south of the complex.