Ruairidh Moir, originally from North Tolsta, runs his own Glasgow based architecture firm, BARD Ailteir.

“The thing about growing up in Lewis is the strong sense of place and deep connection to heritage and culture that you develop. This has given me a respect for the history of buildings and a willingness to find out about the people and stories behind them.”

Ruairidh studied architecture at the University of Strathclyde. During his time at Strathclyde he co-founded an architecture society, with the aims of “challenging the attitude of the University and bringing everyone together as a community.””

Ruairidh undertook an Erasmus exchange in Barcelona before the completion of his degree course at Strathclyde.  He later returned to Barcelona working in the studio of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, the architecture firm behind the Scottish Parliament building.

Since graduating Ruairidh has continued to work with Strathclyde University as a tutor. This has allowed him to involve university students in BARD’s work both in the office and through trips to the Western Isles.

Bard Ailteir was officially launched by Ruairidh in April 2016, setting out to encourage innovation and research through experimentation, enquiry as well as testing through use of physical models.  

Ruairidh set up the office as a vehicle to undertake interesting projects across Scotland.  The office’s dynamic is bolstered by those collaborating, from clients to designers who are drawn to BARD’s way of working.  “Those involved in the office liken our process to being similar to the creative process seen in artisan ateliers or architecture schools.  It’s a very rewarding and fulfilling collaborative process.”   

The business launch came after a trial period had seen a number of competition successes, most significantly the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative followed by work on Windyhill House. 

The Scottish Scenic Routes initiative was set up by the Scottish Government to give newly qualified graduates an opportunity to develop architectural interventions along Scotland’s most scenic roads. Ruairidh Moir’s Sloc Nan Sitheanach, was commissioned as part of the initiative and is positioned above Loch Lubnaig.

Windyhill is a house in Kilmacolm, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and furnished by him and his wife, Margaret Macdonald. It is one of his last major works still used for its original function.  The house was completed in 1901 with glasswork and furniture restored by its current owner.

BARD have since undertaken other projects across the country, including a number in the Western Isles, “Working on projects from Eriskay to Ness, I am regularly able to travel throughout the Western Isles and base a lot of operations from my home in Tolsta.”

One of BARD Ailteir’s main projects is currently the Comunn Eachdraidh Nis redevelopment of the former Cross School building, in North Dell. Ruairidh Moir is the architect and lead consultant for the project.

The school building was taken over by CEN in 2011 and originally converted into a museum and café. The redevelopment will see the former school transformed into a modern, more inviting space, while also retaining the character of the existing buildings.

 “As well as working with self-build clients, I like working with community organisations; I always find them to be fantastic groups which I enjoy being involved in. It’s always great to play a role in helping the communities of the Western Isles.” 

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Further information about BARD Ailteir can be found at www.bard.scot