2012 GIA Award

‘Small Works’ and ‘Wood for Good’, for The Lighthouse

Read more: The Lighthouse Portfolio Item


Niall and Susan MacDonald
Client for An Cnoc, Isle of Tiree

‘Roots Design Workshop supported us throughout our project to enlarge our house on Tiree. We had outgrown the small house we had for twenty years, but we liked its position in Balephuil and the lightness and brightness of the outlook. In numerous discussions with the Roots team, they were very reassuring that with care and imagination we could gain more living space without spoiling its typical Tiree style. They provided a number of imaginative, practical design ideas at meetings and were very supportive of our final choices.

We were particularly impressed with the efficient way Roots handled all the paperwork and details for the project, such as the applications for Planning and Building Warrants, liaising with the structural engineer and builders (John MacKinnon Builders), as well as the application for completion certificate. Roots had up-to-date knowledge of all the regulations and good working relationships with the people involved.

The best part of working with Roots was the frequent communication throughout the whole project. Phone calls and e-mails were always answered immediately and all matters were handled professionally and courteously. They were always a pleasure to deal with in meetings in locations convenient for us. I would recommend Roots. They seemed to care as much about the quality of the finished result as we did.’

Read more: An Cnoc Portfolio Item


Donnie and Janice MacInnes
Client for Creagan Cottages, Isle of Tiree

‘We approached Roots Design Workshop and asked for their help in renovating an old ruined cottage that we owned on the Island Of Tiree.  We already knew one of the Directors who is from Tiree and we thought that it would be good to support a local and newly formed company.  We also knew that Roots had carried out other projects on Tiree and that they were gaining a good reputation for their design work.

Roots carried out an initial survey of our buildings and within weeks they had come up with various interesting designs for converting the property.

Nothing was ever a problem for Chris or Micheal and for our convenience all our planning meetings with Roots were held in Edinburgh, where we stay. .

We quickly decided on the design that we preferred and Roots very quickly applied for planning which was approved in the usual local council time frame, building warrant was then applied for and was granted after several months.  Due to the fact that we were carrying out a renovation and we were keen to keep the Black House style, it was sometimes difficult to comply with all the building regulations, but due to Roots experience in this style of building and their good working relationship with the local planning office, all building warrant issues were quickly resolved.

The renovation is now well under way and should be completed by late Spring. During the renovation Roots have remained involved in a consultancy basis and they have been more than happy to help out when the builders have needed guidance or extra drawings.

No matter when you phone Michael or Chris you always get a good West Coast welcome and you can guarantee that they will always resolve any issues within days of your enquiry.

We’re confident their business will continue to flourish and am sure our newly renovated black house will be a good advert for Roots Design.’

Read more: Creagan Cottage Portfolio Item


Clare Jones
Owner of a tenement flat in Marlborough Avenue, Glasgow

‘We appointed Micheal and Chris for full design and project management services on the refurbishing our tenement flat in Glasgow.  Having listened to all our requirements they have researched products suitable for a one hundred year old property and we have taken up their recommendations throughout.  A good example of this was when they arranged for samples of the original plaster to be analysed by the Scottish Lime Centre Trust to ensure we could safely use a natural ‘breathable’ insulation. They have minimised the hassle factor for us as we are remote from the project, whilst keeping us up to date on all the developments in design, permissions, appointment of contractors etc and we feel confident that the project is in safe hands.  They are also well organised and thorough, and seem to get on well with their colleagues and contractors.’

Read more: Marlborough Avenue Portfolio Item


Flora Corbett
Client for Dobhran Cottage, Isle of Mull

‘We initially met Chris & Michael at the Housing Expo Exhibition in Inverness in 2010.  We had a building that was in a derelict state which we wanted to make into holiday accommodation but keeping the traditional exterior and footprint but making the interior the real wow factor.  Michael & Chris came up with some fantastic ideas and we went with one of those.  Roots Design Workshop helped us put together a very strong application not only for Planning but also for the SRDP Grant application that we were also putting in for.  We have found Roots Design Workshop to always be clear and up front, there have been no financial surprises and all in all we have found the whole process stressless and seamless.’

Read more: Dobhran Cottage Portfolio Item


Stewart Meikle
Business Services, Project Funding Application Manager

‘I worked with Roots Design Workshop on the initial feasibility study for the proposed purchase and re development of the Business Centre on Tiree for Tiree Community Business. Michael and Chris were extremely easy to work with and provided an excellent service. Their design options were sympathetic to the surroundings, whilst at the same time adhered to the initial brief. They really impressed with their willingness to go the extra mile and provided us with not only design concept drawings but cardboard models of the designs that enabled community members to get a real feel for how a finished building might look. The additional computer generated ‘fly by’ was very well received by the public at our consultation events. I would have no hesitation in recommending Roots Design Workshop and would be very happy to work with them in the future.’

Read more: Tiree Business Centre News Item


John Bottomley
Secretary, Tiree Baptist Church, Isle of Tiree

‘In February 2011 the Roots Design Workshop team of Micheal Holliday and Chris hall visited Tiree over a weekend to help with the proposed re-development of one of our Church buildings, at Baugh. We were impressed by:

A delay in selling our other property has prevented taking the project further at this stages. If and when we do proceed we shall definitely appoint Roots Design Workshop as architects to our project.’

Read more: Tiree Baptist Church News Item


Ian Gillies
Owner of Katie’s Cottage, Isle of Tiree

‘My wife and I are more than satisfied with the work undertaken by the Roots Design Workshop Directors, Christopher Hall and Micheal Holliday. From initial conceptual ideas and sketches, to full planning consents, building warrant, tendering and project management, the Directors have demonstrated a meticulous attention to detail, extremely effective communication skills, and above all, a keen awareness and appreciation for our requirements as their clients. The completed project is everything that we hoped for, and fully mirrors the initial draft sketches and drawings.

We have found that Roots Design Workshop are particularly skilled in negotiations with planning and building control officers, which was very important to us, because of the potential problems that we may have encountered while negotiating a contemporary extension to our traditional dwelling.

We would thoroughly and without hesitation recommend Roots to any organisation or individual looking for practical, high quality architectural advice.’

Read more: Katie’s Cottage Portfolio Item


Ruairidh Campbell Moir
Vice President of the A@131 Student Society, Student representiative on the RIAS Council, Member of the Western Isles Architects Group

‘Considering this practice was formed and sustained as part of a masters student project, it is very inspiring to see this office build an impressive portfolio of projects since inception.

Their approach to the rural environment, which displays real understanding and care, is a refreshing in today’s context. The practice’s mobile office, and their efforts in bringing architecture to the people, is a unique approach – but reminds others how Architects really should conduct their endeavours.

As a contrast to some other young practices, Roots Design Workshop have been busy building – which is no mean feat as a young office in a recession. Their commitment to building architecture is further exemplified with their co-founding of Tog Studio – the architecture summer school based on Tiree. It is commendable that on its first year, this summer school won two GIA awards for 2012, with all participants in agreement that their architectural output has benefited from the experience.

They are encouraging an approach to architecture which has its heart focused on people. Their projects have been beautiful, profound and engaging. For students, they are an inspiration – for long qualified architects, they are an example.’


2010 Shell LiveWIRE Award

‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ (Scotland)

Read more: 2010 Shell LiveWIRE Award News Item