Dezeen Magazine

Careers guide: Morris + Company director Miranda MacLaren explains how she ended up specialising in housing

Miranda MacLaren leads the residential team at architecture studio Morris + Company. For the Dezeen Jobs careers guide, she gives her advice to young architects looking to work in housing.

MacLaren spread her architectural studies across three London schools – The Bartlett, The Cass and Westminster – while her first jobs were with firms Waugh Thistleton and Adams and Sutherland.

She joined Morris + Company – then Duggan Morris Architects – after a brief stint in Australia, after being inspired by the work a former colleague was doing with the studio.

"After a year in Australia I was missing London, I knew I needed to be back and designing here, crafting pieces of the city," she explained.

MacLaren oversees all aspects of Morris + Company's residential work, from designing schemes to running the firm's housing research group. Projects she is particularly proud of include Belle Vue, a retirement community in north London, and Stepping Stones, a vision for transforming an unused Tube station into a centre for young homeless people.

"Housing standards and design guides need to address alternative housing models which should be flexible, based on how long the resident will be living there," she said. "Emergency temporary housing, hotels, student living and co-living all need to have the key ingredients of what makes a home."

MacLaren says that imagination and empathy are essential to her role: "If you don't enjoy the city and being a part of a community, I think it is hard to design for it. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to be a part of imagining the unbuilt and then crafting it into existence."

Read the interview on Dezeen Jobs ›