Alumni Services

Iain MacLeod

Edinburgh based architecture graduate Iain MacLeod talks about why he chose to study at ECA, performing at the Wee Red Bar and exploring the Eastern Seaboard.

Name Iain MacLeod
Degree Course BArch(Hons) Architecture, DipArch Architecture and Urbanism
Year of Graduation 2006
Iain MacLeod

Your time at the University

Having completed a Foundation in Art & Design at Loughborough University, followed by a BSc at Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen, I decided to continue my studies at Edinburgh College of Art. My main reason for choosing ECA was the opportunity it would give me to explore a more creative and conceptual approach to design. I also liked having the chance to work on projects with Fine Art students.

Throughout the course there was an emphasis on hand-drawing and creative exploration at the outset which really appealed to me. Our studios were the best I have ever seen, dual aspect with panoramic views of the castle and the old town - the fact they were a pleasant place to be was really important because, as is typical in architecture, the studio became a second home towards deadlines. The stand out lecturer for me had to be Bill Thompson, his Design Philosophy lectures kept you on your toes and made you consider design from a totally different perspective.




Our studios were the best I have ever seen, dual aspect with panoramic views of the castle and the old town

In my final year I took part in an exchange with students at the Rhode Island School of Design in the USA. This involved solving urban design problems at local brownfield sites, in Edinburgh and Providence. The trip gave us the chance to explore some hidden corners of the Eastern Seaboard, as well as trips to Boston and New York.

Outside of the course, life was funded by pedicabbing, and DJing - performing at the Wee Red Bar as part of Big Toes Hi-Fi, with venue manager Colvin remains one of my favourite gigs from that time.

Growing up just outside of Edinburgh, I already knew the city pretty well, however, studying at the University and actually living in the centre, exposed a new richness and diversity more akin to much bigger cities.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Having worked in a couple of practices here and in London, I am now working at Douglas Flett Architects in Edinburgh. I’m really enjoying the range of experience and level of responsibility you get within a small practice.

In addition to working at the practice, thanks to an award from the Royal Scottish Academy, I set up ‘The Bothy Project’ with a Glasgow-based artist. With this project we are aiming to build a network of small and distinct buildings across Scotland which will be used as artist residency spaces.

Alumni wisdom

Make a conscious effort to explore beyond the subject you are studying. Student life offers a lot more than a degree through the social side, sports, nightlife, clubs, societies and general mix of interesting people.

Keep your strength up at lunchtime by visiting the mosque kitchen!

Read our January profiles

Alumni Profile | Andrew Wolffe