Liam Ross profile picture

Job title:

Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design


Director of Education


Room 2.53, Minto House


Liam Ross is an architect and senior lecturer in Architectural Design at the University of Edinburgh. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and the Architectural Association, and completed his doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Mark Dorrian. Liam has experience of practice in the UK and US, including a period of 5 years with Malcolm Fraser Architects. He has received a number of awards for his independent work, and work in practice. He maintain an ongoing relationship with professional practice as co-founder of ESALA Projects, a consultancy vehicle through which he and fellow staff offers pro-bono and for-fee consultancy to public and third-sector clients. Liam has held a post at the University of Edinburgh since 2011. He has contributed to ESALA’s professional programmes in Architecture by teaching at all levels, in design, theory, and research methods. He is an active researcher whose work has been exhibited and published widely. Liam is actively involved in in academic citizenship at ESALA and ECA, a former programme director of the Master of Architecture programme, and currently ESALA’s Undergraduate Teaching Convenor.


Liam has taught across ESALA’s programmes, contributing foundational studio courses, leading courses on professional studies, and contributing to courses on architectural theory and research methods. His main teaching contribution, though, has been a series of research-led studio courses, offered at UG and PG level, engaging with a range of topical disciplinary themes; multispecies co-habitation, environmental change, disaster resilience, and most recently fire-safe design, supervising students to award-winning projects. Beyond ESALA, he has contributed to courses on the sociology of fire-safety at the school of engineering. At present Liam also coordinates teaching and supervision for undergraduate dissertations in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Architectural History. He has been a visiting lecturer or critic at a number of local and international institutions, including Newcastle University, University of Westminster, TU Delft, SUNY at Buffalo, Syracuse Architecture, and Tong Chi University.


Liam’s own research responds ‘to a call to study boring things’. It pays attention to aspects of design practice that often taken-for-granted, but nonetheless have pervasive effects. Specifically his work focusses on building standardisation as a mode of design; it seeks to foreground the ‘govern-mentalities’ embedded within familiar norms, and to trace the way those mentalities are translated and inscribed into built form. In doing so, his work reflects on the partiality of standards, the contingency of norms, and the often surprising side-effects at standards have as they are ‘captured’ and re-interpreted by those who work closely with them. His work has been published in Arch +, arq, Architectural Theory Review, Candide, Gta Papers and Volume, and features in the edited collections Industries of Architecture and Neoliberalism on the Ground. With colleague Tolulope Onabolu, he was commissioned to exhibit material at the British Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale. A forthcoming monograph with Pyrotechnic Cities: Architecture, fire-safety and standardisation (Routledge, 2022) will collect recent material focussed on the way architects work with around the requirements of fire-safety standards.

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Accepting applications
  • Architectural Design
  • Urban Design
  • Architectural Theory
  • Architectural History
  • Fire Safety
  • History of Science and Technology
  • Philosophy of Science & Technology
  • Governmentality Studies
  • Infrastructure Studies

Related programmes