Edinburgh Research Explorer

Liam Ross

Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design

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Phone: 0131 6515781Mobile: 07976 902477

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

I am available to act as a second or co-supervisor for PhD's in Architecture by Thesis and Architecture by Design. My areas of expertise concern the intersection of architectural design practices with discourses on Governmentality, and Science and Technology Studies.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Architecture, University of Edinburgh
Master of Architecture, University of Edinburgh

Professional Qualifications

APEAS Examination in Professional Practice and Management, Part 3


Liam is an architect and lecturer in architectural design at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.  He has experience of practice in Edinburgh, London and New York, on projects in the UK, USA, Russia and UAE, and spent 5 years with Malcolm Fraser Architects, leading and assisting on projects across the UK. He has received a number of awards for his design work, and in 2012 was selected to exhibit in the British Pavilion at the 13th Venice Biennale, and at the RIBA. He has worked at the University of Edinburgh since 2004 as a studio tutor and Lecturer, and has taught internationally with ArchiPrix International and Tong-Chi University.  He is currently a doctoral candidate in architecture by design, and the subject of his research is the relation between architectural design practices, and their governmental frameworks.  Besides his research publications he contributes journalistic work to online and print magazines, including Archi-Ned, Blueprint, & Prospect.

Research Interests

Standards and Side Effects

On the accidental architectures of building regulation

My research explores the architectural implication of processes of building regulation and standardization.  It studies the governmental intent of such processes; the problems they respond to, the rationales they employ, their particular ways of seeing, and the roles and responsibilities they define.  It also studies the practical effects, and the unintended side-effects, of such processes; the ways in which those who work with legislative frameworks re-direct them to their own purposes.

This research employs concepts and methods drawn from Infrastructure Studies.  It understands such codes, standards and regulations as both discursive and material formations; processes through which governmental ways of thinking are constituted and are mediated through practical application. The methodology followed is one of an ‘Infrastructural Inversion’; the research uncovers the assumptions and sidings embedded within our standards and codes, and makes visible their causal significance for the design of the built environment.  This ‘inversion’ often through both text and by-design: I am particularly interested at the kinds of unintended consequences which occur when the textual documents that define and communicate governmental programmes are interpreted through drawings, and I make diagrammatic analyses of such processes of translation.

My works tends to focus on local legislative frameworks and effects, and I am particularly interested in the way in which the development of the city of Edinburgh relates to the growth of its own legislative frameworks.  But codes and standards are things which are replicated, and which tend to travel, and I am also interested in how Scottish regulatory frameworks and British Standards have been exported and adopted, translated and transformed, by others.


Research outputs

  1. Creative uncertainty: Arup Associates, Fire Safety, and the metaengineering of Government

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. Standard Side Effects: Accidental Architecture of Building Regulation

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (19) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Pyrotechnic City: On the Repeated Failure to Build an Unburnable Tokyo

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  2. Pyrotechnic City: On the Repeated Failure to Build an Unburnable Tokyo

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

  3. ESALA / Kindai University Exchange

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

View all (16) »

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