Job title: Professor of Architectural Practice

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2304


Research: See Prof Fiona McLachlan on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Current PhD students

Nik Farhanah Nik Azhari

Jill Zhao

A Grounded Approach to OEB in Passivhaus

Beichen Yu

Colour & Place-making

PhD Supervision Topics

Fiona McLachlan is an architect and Professor of Architectural Practice at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). A former Head of ESALA, she teaches architectural design, currently in both the first and fourth years of the school, but has taught at all levels. She contributes to the teaching of Professional Studies and Management, and provides CPD courses to candidates for the final ARB/RIBA 'Part 3’ examination in Architecture.

Research Interests

Fiona’s current research has four major strands and varied outputs, all of which draw on inter-relationships of practice and teaching.

Colour in contemporary architecture

Her research on colour has led to two books;                         McLachlan, F (2012) Architectural Colour in the Professional Palette, Oxon and New York: Routledge, also translated into Chinese; and a co-authored book Colour Strategies in Architecture, Schwabe AG Verlag, Basel, (2015). This book is the result of a four-year collaboration with the Haus der Farbe in Switzerland. A major touring exhibition of the original artwork for the Colour Strategies in Architecture was shown in the Gewerbemuseum, Winterthur and has been shown in three UK venues; the Matthew Architecture Gallery in Edinburgh, The Glasgow Lighthouse and the Architectural Association, London during 2015-16. It is planned to be shown in Germany during 2017.

This research theme led to a multi-disciplinary study ‘Colour Collective’ at Edinburgh College of Art investigating and documenting colour teaching and research across the University of Edinburgh and other UK institutions. The work spans Architecture, History of Art and the School of Art and is feeding into teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Creative Industries/Fabric Cast concrete

Work with Professor Remo Pedreschi (Professor of Architectural Technology at Edinburgh College of Art) has focussed on the development of techniques in casting concrete against fabric, with panels cast in the workshop used in a social housing project at Whitburn, West Lothian, by her architectural practice (2007).  This has also generated a series of workshops for primary and secondary school children and a number of publications.

Primary school design

An example of teaching-led research originating from Honours Architectural Design teaching on the Building Typology of schools. This was the subject of a book, ‘Thinking Teaching Learning’ (2009) re-presenting the work to a wider audience by placing it in the context of the Scottish government’s ‘Curriculum for Excellence’. The Scottish Government distributed it to every local authority education department in Scotland and images are embedded in the Architecture and Design Scotland’s ‘Spark’ website.

Housing research and architectural built work

An AHRC funded KE project 'Home Improvements' with Sheffield and Kingston Universities was completed in 2014. A collaborative report ‘Space to Park’ with URBED was presented at Westminster and disseminated at on the Space to Park website.

An earlier major research project for the Scottish Government ‘Design at the Heart of Housebuilding’ was completed in 2007.

E & F McLachlan Architects

Fiona has her own practice, E & F McLachlan Architects which has specialised in social housing and residential work and has won a number of invited competitions which have resulted in built projects. The work of the practice has been included in international exhibitions and publications, notably in New Architects: A guide to Britain’s best young architectural practices (1998) and RIBA:40 under Forty.

ESALA Projects

Fiona is actively involved in outreach and community projects through the ESALA Projects office. A recent example was the Baltic Street Adventure Playground ‘Wiki house’ in Dalmarnock.

McLachlan, Fiona. 2017. “Shifting And Unstable”. Journal Of The International Colour Association 17 (2017) (Special Issue).
“Colour Strategies In Architecture”. 2016.
“Colour Strategies In Architecture Exhbition”. 2016.
“Colour Strategies In Architecture Exhibition”. 2015.
McLachlan, Fiona, Lino Sibillano, Stefanie Wettstein, Marcella Di Gabrielle, and AnneMarie Neser. 2015. Colour Strategies In Architecture. Colour Strategies In Architecture. Schwabe, Basel.
McLachlan, Fiona, and Ewen McLachlan. 2014. “Colour And Contingency”. Architectural Theory Review 19 (2).
McLachlan, Fiona, Kenny Fraser, David Rudlin, John Sampson, David Birkbeck, and Sarah Ainsworth. 2013. Space To Park. Space To Park. University of Edinburgh.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2013. “Ethereal Material”. Proceedings Of The Ice - Construction Materials 166 (6).
Ferrari, Maria, and Fiona McLachlan. 2013. “Grit In The Oyster : The Challenges Of Merging Two Schools Of Architecture As Illustrated Through The First Year”. Grit In The Oyster : The Challenges Of Merging Two Schools Of Architecture As Illustrated Through The First Year.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2012. “Investigations In The Professional Palette”.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2012. Architectural Colour In The Professional Palette. Architectural Colour In The Professional Palette. Routledge.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2011. “Altered Space”. In Aic 2011, Interaction Of Colour & Light In The Arts And Sciences, Midterm Meeting Of The International Colour Association. International colour association (AIC).
Jenkins, Paul, and Fiona McLachlan. 2010. “Is There A Role For Architects In Mainstream Private Sector House Building?”. The Journal Of Architecture 15 (2).
McLachlan, Fiona, and R Hallett. 2009. Thinking, Teaching, Learning: Explorations In Primary School Design. Thinking, Teaching, Learning: Explorations In Primary School Design. University of Edinburgh.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2009. “Chromachronology: Seriality And The Professional Palette”. In Seriality And Architecture Symposium. Seriality and Architecture Symposium.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2008. “Cutting The Cloth”. In Riba Research Space At Home Symposium. RIBA Research Space at Home Symposium.
Pedreschi, Remo, Fiona McLachlan, and S. Lee. 2008. “Fabric Cast Concrete”. In Designing Concrete For The Visual Environment. BRE Press.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2008. “Cutting The Cloth: The Marketing Of Domestic Space In The Uk”. Architecture & Property 1.
McLachlan, Fiona, and Remo Pedreschi. 2007. “Poetics And Precision”. In Tectonics Making Meaning Conference Tu. Tectonics Making Meaning Conference TU.
McLachlan, Fiona. 2007. “Form Follows Fabric”. In Fabric Formwork. RIBA Publishing.