Iain is an ARB registered Architect with 24 years of experience of practice in the UK and Asia. Previous practices include Sir Norman Foster & Partners where Iain worked principally on the new Hong Kong Airport at Chek Lap Kok. 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 presently Edinburgh Director of Draw Architects. Draw is a new model of architectural practice which works in partnership both nationally and internationally with collaborative design partners. Draw has collaborative partners in Europe, the Middle East, Asian and China. Previous collaborators include Aedas and Arups. Founding Director of Draw, Mark Bingham works with Iain in teaching, practice and research and both run a shared Masters Design studio in ESALA.
Iain is also a researcher within ESALA, working on projects funded by joint research council initiatives. He is presently part of an interdisciplinary research team including academics from University of Edinburgh, Kings College, London and the University of York, which is investigating the relationship between older people and the built environment, with fieldwork and user participation in the cities of Manchester, London and Copenhagen and also the remote Scottish Island of Orkney. The project has received £1.5 million funding from Research Councils UK and is entitled 'Mobility, Mood and Place'. (MMP). In February 2017, the project entered a new phase, in which findings and key messages are being shared with audiences in policy, practice, communities, and the not-for-profit sector to drive forward change in age-friendly approaches to place. These year-long activities are funded by an Impact Acceleration Award from the Economic and Social Research Council.
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 post-graduate 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 and innovative design solutions. Students from Iain's previous design units have been awarded RIAS student prizes in sustainability and urban design. ESALA Masters, research-led studio for 2017-18 is based in Tuscany, Italy and is called, 'MMP Tuscany- Re-Imagining Communities and Ancient Traditions for a Rural Ageing Population'.
A third strand of Iain's academic work is Architectural Management, which he delivers at post-graduate 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).
Iain supervises students for MSc by Research, or PhD, acting as 1st, 2nd and co-supervisor to a number of students.
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.
Latest research includes working with colleagues on a new Knowledge Exchange project with the Wheatley Group, assisting them with the development of a contemporary property development and technology strategy.