The Scottish architecture practice behind major civic developments including leading a 7,000-home masterplan for the Scottish capital has moved into employee ownership.

Edinburgh-based 7N Architects said setting up an Employee Ownership Trust with owner and founding director Ewan Anderson transferring 100% of his total shareholding to a trust acting on behalf of all the company’s employees secures the firm's long-term future.

The practice made the announcement in advance of an event at its Randolph Place studio celebrating 15 years of operation on Thursday.

The company’s leadership will now be spearheaded by a board of directors composed of Mr Anderson and co-directors Ben Watson and Craig Tait.

READ MORE: Plans for 7,000 new homes in 'biggest city development in modern times'

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 employs 24 staff. According to Mr Anderson, with a formidable track record combined with a burgeoning project pipeline, now is the right time to secure the company’s long-term future.

The Herald: From Left to Right: Ben Watson – Director, Craig Tait – Director, Laura Adamson - Board of Trustees member, Lisa Blyth - Board of Trustees member, Ewan Anderson – Director, Collette Anderson - Practice ManagerFrom Left to Right: Ben Watson – Director, Craig Tait – Director, Laura Adamson - Board of Trustees member, Lisa Blyth - Board of Trustees member, Ewan Anderson – Director, Collette Anderson - Practice Manager (Image: 7N Architects)

“7N Architects has come a long way since the practice was formed during the financial crisis of 2009,” Mr 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.

“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."

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He added: “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.”

Architect Lisa Blyth, who was one of the original founder members of the practice, was voted in 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.

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“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.”

Current projects include a Re-Imagining Railways project for Network Rail having been selected from 200 international entries to design the railway station of the future, with design guidance being published in 2022 for more than 2000 stations across the UK.

The firm is also leading West Town in Edinburgh, helping to deliver a new neighbourhood with 7,000 homes to the west of the city.