Mike Laurie

Rising to the challenge of New Ways of Working


Michael founded the Michael Laurie Architects (MLA) practice, after a 16-year career, working on a wide variety of large and small-scale projects in the Private, Commercial and Public Sectors, gaining invaluable experience in three of Edinburgh’s highly regarded architectural offices.

In 2005, at the age of 40, the time was right for a new challenge.

“It was no coincidence that the decision to set up as a Sole Practitioner was made when our second child, Matthew, started Primary school. This new venture was a radical departure from managing and leading a large architectural office in Leith. The purpose was primarily to get back to “hands on” architectural work and to achieve a manageable “work life” balance for a family with two professional parents. In the early years, working from a home office was a huge daunting change” admits Michael.

Early architectural commissions that followed were primarily related to residential alterations and extensions, which were a refreshing change from large practice work. The direct engagement with clients was deeply satisfying and the relatively short timescale from initial concept sketches to completion on site, restored his enthusiasm for the creative architectural process. At this time the practice was supported by a changing digital world which was moving towards web and cloud-based information storage. This importantly allowed a small architectural practice to provide a much better service to clients.

By 2009 MLA was invited to prepare design proposals for previous public sector client, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) and this started a long-term working relationship that continues today. The seeds of this client relationship were planted in in 2002 when Michael led a successful Professional Services Framework tender which lasted for six years for a past employer.

By 2012 MLA workload had substantially grown and the practice was joined by Jill Molloy as a Consultant, collaborating on various projects. This big step forward was at the beginning of a very successful period and other team members followed on. It was clear that growth of the practice (amidst a difficult economy with minimum risk) could also be achieved by creating alliances with a few friendly small practices that had sprung up largely because of redundancies caused by the recession of 2009.

The practice has now been established for 18 years based in the Southside of Edinburgh, with a Team (working remotely) as far afield as Nairn, Glasgow, Fife, East Lothian, and the Scottish Borders. Our workload has greatly expanded, and our reputation has grown particularly with the body of Justice Sector clients. As of today, a tried and tested series of multi-disciplinary collaborations exists that consistently delivers an excellent service to our clients. The range of skills we can offer has also added another dimension to our appeal. From Future ways of Office Working, Space Planning, Heritage Consultancy, Covid 19 Planning, 3D Visualisation to CDM Principal Designer’s, our team is now capable of taking on large projects.