Mairi Laverty




Young Architect of the Year


Reason for nomination

We believe that Mairi Laverty should win Young Architect of the Year due her ability to balance exceptional design with the skills required to bring clients, communities, consultants and contractors on the journey to delivering high quality projects. She impresses everyone who has the pleasure to work alongside her and Mairi’s unwavering design ability is infused with rigour, empathy, determination and good humour.  Mairi joined Collective Architecture in 2008 after successfully completing a first-class Honours Degree at the University of Strathclyde. Her sensitive, elegant and holistic projects stood out thanks to their contemporary interpretation of the Scottish vernacular.Since qualifying as an architect in 2012, Mairi has continued to combine high aspiration and professionalism. She has worked on a range of projects at Collective Architecture that include housing, civic buildings and special care.  Mairi has applied her skills to complex, socially inclusive buildings and places across Scotland,  including the Larick Centre, Tayport; the Water Row Development in Govan, Glasgow; Bilbohall Masterplan in Elgin; Sighthill Housing, Glasgow and plans for the Camphill Community/Estates, Aberdeen. Mairi continues to employ ambitious design aspiration and professionalism throughout her work. She has worked on a range of projects at Collective Architecture including successfully designing and delivering the Cutty Sark Centre for Bellsmyre Community Trust in 2017 and more recently, the Larick Centre for Tayport Community Trust (2019). Mairi has also delivered largescale housing projects in Sighthill, North Glasgow, for Glasgow Housing Association and Water Row, Glasgow, for Govan Housing Association. These elegant housing developments carefully knit together new and existing communities. These involved intensive community engagement and sensitive handling of places and people. Mairi took this in her stride and sensitively led the project team to delivery. Mairi has the ability to take any brief, no matter how big or small, and transform it into a beautiful and elegant piece of architecture.  Her design ability is coupled with a quiet confidence that consistently reassures colleagues, clients and contractors.  She brings this ability to bear in both small and large teams and ‘brings people along with her’ at every stage of the process. It is rare to find someone with the ability to be both visionary and modest at the same time. Mairi’s ability to lead through quiet confidence and careful reassurance is second to none. This allows her to deliver elegant design in an engaging and collaborative way.

Description of work

Mairi has designed and delivered a wide range of projects of varying scales, uses and sites since 2008 as outlined earlier.Most notably, she successfully designed and delivered the £1.2m Cutty Sark Centre for Bellsmyre Community Trust in 2017 and more recently, the £2.3m Larick Centre for Tayport Community Trust (2019). Both these community buildings had complex, multipurpose briefs and tight budgets, which Mairi developed into refined, highly coherent buildings with a controlled palette of materials applied throughout.  At the Larick Centre, she skilfully led a complex client group, stakeholders and local residents through the design process from feasibility study through to completed buildings –on time and budget.  Her design responded to the rural architecture of the surrounding landscape and carefully married a series of large and small spaces into a coherent whole. This was the first major building project carried out by the Trust and Mairi expertly listened, guided and led the design team on their behalf.  This compact, but complex, community facility required a careful balance of cost and quality to meet the project programme and funding constraints. Mairi skilfully balanced the funding parameters with the community aspirations for the building. She carefully navigated the client through the process and incorporated a variety of client alterations to ensure the design intent remained intact throughout the process. This involved re-considering cladding materials (whilst retaining design quality), the configuration of the community hall/cafe (refined structural solution), reduced building footprint (whilst retaining all functions via careful planning) and a phased external works contract (to allow project to remain on programme).  In 2019 Mairi also led the winning competition for Camphill School Aberdeen to deliver a £10m capital investment development programme across two of its three campuses. She is also leading the team in the design of the masterplan for Camphill Estate in Aberdeen.Camphill School is a unique and inspiring place offering sector-leading education, care and therapy to children and young people with additional support needs. Mairi led the design team to work with the client team, young people and staff to develop proposals via an innovative, collaborative design-led approach using models, light and material studies.  The final development plan, design guide and resulting building typologies (new residential homes around courtyards, co-worker accommodation and refurbishment of existing shared buildings and halls) were considered around the cultural, social and regulatory context of the organisation and its future.