Three questions for Ruairidh Moir, BARD Ailteir

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At this year’s A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards for Architecture (2017) we spoke to the winning students, as well as the speakers providing presentations during the day’s event. Ruairidh Moir, BARD Ailteir, created the winning entry for the 2013 Scottish Scenic Routes, for Faerie Hollow, Loch Lubnaig. We asked him about his current work and any advice he would share with anyone thinking of studying architecture.

What are you currently doing?

Ruairidh Moir: Currently based in the famous Barras in Glasgow but I’m also part time on the Isle of Lewis so I’m between the two. I’m working on projects such as a car port at Mackintosh’s Windyhill house. In addition to that a Harris Tweed mill and various residential commissions and also some ‘glamping pods’ in Harris and an artists cabin and various other nice projects. I’m trying to get as much of a range of scales and typologies to keep my portfolio as interesting and diverse as I can.

I am on my own at the moment but within the next few weeks hopefully I’ll have a student with me. I do take in help from time to time when required – interesting people who can do the stuff I cant do. I’m involved in teaching in the University of Strathclyde so that helps to find people.

What difference did winning a competition make?

It was amazing at the time. I would say winning the Scottish Scenic Routes competition gave me a lot of confidence and raised my profile. It also helped getting my Part 3 qualifications and on the back of it a couple of competitions. I find competitions interested in terms of exploring ideas and even just giving me the skills of running an office and it gives clients assurances of your capabilities and what your interested in. For all these reasons it’s been a springboard that’s launched me into being a sole practitioner. At the same time I was working in a practice on bigger projects, but for that I was the designer.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about studying architecture?

I would say just looking back its 10 years since I studied it’s maybe not as daunting as it seems when you start and I would recommend going at it full throttle. You’ll find your own rhythm at some point and I would say as a student try to worry less and really embrace and savour the experience of being in an architecture school – they will be the most formative, inspiring and illuminating years that you’ll ever have. And if you do all that you’ll have the time of your life that will carry you through your career.

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