Iain is an ARB registered Architect with 26 years of experience of practice in the UK and Asia. Previous practices include Sir Norman Foster & Partners. He has experience in the design, procurement and construction of a rich diversity of building projects from both new-build and refurbishment housing to industrial and commercial buildings for clients such as Bank of Scotland, The Post Office and Canon UK. He presently works on selected individual projects.
He has been a design tutor at Edinburgh College of Art and ESALA since 1996 and was Director of the Master of Architecture at ESALA from 2011-14. He is also a Visiting Professor at Harbin Institute of Technology in China, where he has previously run summer school studios with lectures to students and staff at a series of Chinese universities.
Iain is also an experienced researcher within ESALA. Previous projects include ‘Mobility, Mood and Place’. A cross disciplinary research project investigating the relationship between older people and the built environment, which included academics from University of Edinburgh, Kings College, London and the University of York. Iain worked with students from the MA, MArch and MLA programmes engaged in fieldwork and user participation workshops in the cities of Manchester, London and Copenhagen and also the remote Scottish Island of Orkney. MMP generated a rich series of outputs in different forms from academic papers, exhibitions and conference contributions. For a full list visit Research Explorer.
More recent projects includethe Wheatley Group Innovation in Housing Project and the ‘Present Voices, Future Lives’ Exhibition & Workshop Project awarded by the Scottish Government and Architecture & Design Scotland. The project was commissioned to engage people from across Scotland on the draft vision and principles for a new policy for housing in Scotland (Housing to 2040). A report on the project will be published by the Scottish Government in 2020.
Iain is interested in a compelling and fundamental relationship between his teaching and research to the extent that the boundaries between the two disciplines become indistinct. His design studios at ESALA are interdisciplinary, engaging students of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in diagnosing problematics and identifying opportunities for design solutions which add to the knowledge canon in particular subject domains and geographical places. Students become 'active researchers' working with interdisciplinary research teams and particular user groups, employing innovative research methods and co-design practices in the pursuit of original design solutions. Students from previous design units have been awarded RIAS student prizes in sustainability and urban design. Iain’s most recent ESALA Studio vehicle and emerging research strand in session 2019-20 was an MA Architecture studio looking closely at the problem of Scotland’s town centres, with a vehicle titled ‘Transforming Scotland’s Towns: Re-Thinking the High Street’ located in Falkirk, Central Scotland. The 2020-21 studio will be investigating the ‘Care Home of the Future’, a real-life research project with a new building to be built at the Queen Margaret University campus in Musselburgh, East Lothian.
A third strand of Iain's academic work is Architectural Management, which he delivers at postgraduate level in ESALA through the Master of Architecture degree, engaging students in subjects of practice management, building procurement and statutory regulation. He also runs the Part 3 Contract Game event for candidates of the Scottish Professional Examination. He has been a member of the Examination Committee for the Authority for the Professional Architect's Examination in Scotland (APEAS).
Previous research includes work with disenfranchised users of the built environment, 'Design for Autism' (2009) and 'Effective Briefing Techniques for Building Users with Communication Difficulties' (2011) being two notable previous publications. Knowledge Exchange Projects have included a study of 'The Impact of the Built Environment on Service Provision' for ARK Housing Association, with academics from Heriot-Watt University.
From 2013-2017 Iain was Co-Investigator on ‘Mobility, Mood and Place’, leading Work Package 1 of the project, investigating the design of age friendly places through research and co-design with older people around the UK.
More recent research has included a Knowledge Exchange project with the Wheatley Housing Group, assisting them with the development of a contemporary property development and technology strategy and investigating how the urban cemetery can be considered as a place for human activity beyond internment and remembrance.
Recent publications include ‘Inclusive Design and Pedagogy: An outline of Three Innovations’, in Built Environment (2018) and ‘Perspectives on ‘Novel’ Techniques for Designing Age-Friendly Homes and Neighbourhoods with Older Adults’ (2020).