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Sat May 25 2024

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Scottish architect goes employee-owned

18 Apr Edinburgh-based 7N Architects has been sold to an employee ownership trust (EOT).

The new 7N Leadership team (left to right) Ben Watson, Craig Tait, Laura Adamson, Lisa Blyth, Ewan Anderson and Collette Anderson
The new 7N Leadership team (left to right) Ben Watson, Craig Tait, Laura Adamson, Lisa Blyth, Ewan Anderson and Collette Anderson

Ewan Anderson, founding director of 7N Architects, has transferred 100% of his total shareholding to a trust acting on behalf of all the company’s 24 employees.

The company will now be led by a board of directors composed of Anderson together with co-directors Ben Watson and Craig Tait. They will work in collaboration with a board of trustees bringing together Anderson with independent chair of trustees John Hume, and 7N employee representatives Lisa Blyth and Laura Adamson who were elected by their colleagues.

Originally named 7N Architects after the seven company members who wanted to stay in the ‘north’ following a breakaway from a previous architectural practice, the company now has 24 staff.

It started as a masterplanning specialist but has diversified to include the end delivery of a range of high-profile residential, civic and commercial developments.

“7N Architects has come a long way since the practice was formed during the financial crisis of 2009,” Ewan Anderson said. “Despite many challenges along the way, we have grown steadily and incrementally, and through a defined focus and commitment to putting placemaking at the heart of everything we do, we have had the privilege of being involved on some of the most transformative and recognised development projects in Scotland and the UK.

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"It’s an exciting time for the practice, with projects from London to Lerwick. We’ve created the City Centre Strategy for Glasgow, masterplans for University of Glasgow and Inverness Campus, a new station concept for Network Rail, built hundreds of new homes in some of the most deprived and affluent parts of Scotland and have developed transformational proposals for new workspaces which put people’s wellbeing at the heart of the design. I look forward to being an integral part of a new era for 7N Architects – and seeing the company, our employees and our clients continue over the longer-term to reap the benefits of our enlightened and progressive approach to making better places.”

Co-director Ben Watson added: “The successful completion our Employee Ownership Trust marks the next significant step of 7N’s journey. All team members have been involved in this process from the start, and the new leadership structure creates both a strong management framework whilst empowering every member of staff to play a significant role in the future of the company.”

Architect Lisa Blyth, who was one of the original founder members of the practice, was elected by fellow staff members to become a member of the new board of trustees. “The whole employee ownership process was a hugely insightful experience showing how all our employees could play a significant role in the future of the company,” she said. “All team members took part in a variety of workshops ranging from defining our purpose statement to exploring what kind of work we wanted to focus on in the future. We now have a flexible and democratic management structure which reflects the representative and collegiate working environment that 7N has worked so hard to create over the years.”

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