Meet Josh Laidlaw

RRA Architects > Meet Josh Laidlaw

Josh Laidlaw
Architectural Assistant


I grew up in Liverpool with my parents and 2 younger siblings before moving to Bristol to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the university of the west of England. Initially my plan was to finish my degree in Bristol and then return home to Liverpool, however over the past 3 years I’ve come to love the city so much that I’ve decided to stay down south and further my career here. 


What attracted you to being an Architect?

My decision to become an architect stemmed from my interest in architecture’s ability to improve people’s lives through providing healthier and more considerate built environments. Initially I had planned to become a chemical engineer, however whilst preparing for my A-level chemistry exams I hit a brick wall and found myself craving something more fulfilling. I had considered a career in architecture when I was younger so, to see if this could be the path for me, I bought a book which explored how architecture impacts the world around it. This book opened my eyes to the intangible qualities that make a great design, and how considering these qualities allows the architect to improve not only the life of the client, but also the lives of all those who experience the building. From this I found myself captivated with design and began exploring the works of famous architects, such as Oscar Neimeyer and Louis Kahn, having my eyes opened to the creativity and excitement that a career in architecture can offer. I knew from then that architecture was what I wanted to do.


What attracted you to work for RRA?

Whilst approaching the end of my degree I was in a position where I couldn’t wait to get out into practice and learn as much as I could about how different projects come to fruition. For this reason, I wanted to work for a practice that operated within multiple sectors and dealt with a variety of clients. When I saw RRA I was really impressed by the quality and scale of their projects, specifically their heritage and conservation work, which is a field of architecture that I had long wished to explore however had never had the chance. RRA seemed like the exact type of working environment that I was looking for, with a friendly, personable team that would help me improve my design skills and learn as much as I can before I return to further education to pursue my Part 2. Upon joining RRA I am delighted to say that I made the right choice, it is a wonderful team to be a part of and I am beyond excited to work on each project that comes my way.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time my favourite thing to do is to go climbing. I took up rock climbing in my second year of university and spend around 3 nights a week in my local bouldering gym in Bristol. I also took up skateboarding during the first lockdown, something I used to do when I was little and had always wanted to get back into. These 2 hobbies take up most of my free time, but whenever I’m tired of spraining my fingers and twisting my ankles, I also enjoy sketching, exploring new cities, going on hikes in the country, and visiting pubs and cafés with my friends.


Name one thing on your bucket list?

I’ve always wanted to hike to the Old Forge, the most remote pub in the UK. It’s a 3 day hike across the Scottish countryside, an area with stunning views and some of the last real wilderness in Britain. Luckily there’s a ferry you can take back from the pub to the nearest village because there is no chance I’d be able to walk back after that journey.


If there was a fire what one object would you most want to save? (Presuming all people and animals were safe).

I’d probably save my hard drive, it contains all the work I did throughout my degree as well as countless photos of family and friends.


If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

I’d go back home to Liverpool and visit my dog, Cooper. Although I love living down south it is difficult finding the time to go home and visit my family, my parents can always come down and visit but Cooper is too energetic to last 4 hours in the car so I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like.


If you hadn’t gone into architecture what other career might you have pursued?

I likely would’ve followed my initial path to becoming a chemical engineer, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed the technical side of the work however I couldn’t imagine choosing it over the job I have now.


Are there any famous buildings that you would really love to visit and why?

I’d really like to visit New Baris Village in Egypt, it was designed by Hassan Fathy who pioneered an innovative way of housing Egypt’s rural peasant community in affordable, almost luxury, homes that were completely passively cooled and ventilated. I studied the architect and his work in depth for my dissertation and would love to have the opportunity to explore his most successful project in person to see how it’s held up over time, and how the community has repurposed it since its initial construction.


What do you like about your job?

I really enjoy the ever-changing nature of my work, the constant flow of different projects, sites, and clients means that each day I get to explore a new way of working and thinking. It’s amazing being able to work in a profession that is so fluid and dynamic.