Basic Biographical Details

Name: MacLaren & Thomas
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: After 1903
Ended: 1920
Bio Notes: Thomas MacLaren was born on 19 February 1863, the son of John MacLaren, farmer at Middleton of Boquhapple, Thornhill, Callander, and was educated at the village school and at Stirling High School. In January 1880 he settled in London, living with his elder architect brother James Marjoribanks MacLaren at his lodgings at 40 Montpelier Street. As his brother was not yet in independent practice he was articled to Wallace & Flockhart, William Flockhart having been a colleague of James's at Salmon Son & Ritchie's and at Campbell Douglas & Sellars's offices. He attended the South Kensington classes prior to entering the Royal Academy Schools in 1882. There had he a very distinguished record, winning the Silver Medal in 1883, the Gold Medal (which he won with a design for a town mansion) and Travelling Scholarship in 1885 and the Pugin Travelling Studentship in 1887. His obituarist remarks that he put in many hours of work to prepare entries for these competitions and suggests that this was detrimental to his health in the long run. The prizes he was awarded enabled him to travel in Italy, France and Belgium. Throughout that period he appears to have remained with Flockhart, but he is known to have assisted his brother's practice.

In 1888 MacLaren became an assistant to Frederick William Stevens in Bombay. Stevens's practice was mainly in Bombay but MacLaren is believed to have worked only in his London office. He commenced independent practice at 4 Barton Street, London, independently of his brother in March 1889, but he does appear to have continued to help at his brother's practice, particularly with ship interiors. At Barton Street he shared an office with Charles Edward Mallows, a former colleague in Flockhart's office who had assisted his brother James from time to time. MacLaren passed the qualifying exam in 1892 and was admitted ARIBA on 13 June, his proposers being Richard Phené Spiers, head of the Academy Schools, George Aitchison and Aston Webb. In these early years Thomas MacLaren's work was very similar in character to his brother's but with more exactly Godwinesque details.

About 1893 Thomas MacLaren began to develop the same early signs of tuberculosis as his brother. He too went to the Engadine in Switzerland in the hope of recovery and put his time there to some purpose in producing a splendid series of watercolours of Swiss architecture. But in 1894 he became unsure of his condition and emigrated first to Denver, moving almost immediately to Colorado Springs where he recommenced architectural practice and was for a time joined by Mervyn Macartney who was also seeking a cure.

MacLaren became a naturalised American citizen in 1903, the year in which he designed the City Hall at Colorado Springs. His work there became more academic in deference to the tastes of his clients: two years later in 1905 he was commissioned to design Cleremont for Charles Baldwin for which he returned to Europe to make a detailed study of the Grand Trianon at Versailles and make a brief visit home. His personal experience of tuberclosis caused him to take a particular interest in hospital design resulting in commissions for the Modern Woodmen of the World Sanatorium and The Craigmor Sanatorium both in or near Colorado Springs, the designs for which were more functional. Until 1920 he was in partnership with Charles E Thomas and he may have returned to Scotland in 1918-20 as he exhibited Cleremont and the Pauline RC Church at Colorado Springs at the RSA in those years. When the partnership with Thomas broke up and they were in competition for the Colorado Springs Municipal Auditorium, built to MacLaren's design in 1923, MacLaren entered into a second partnership with Thomas Hetherington.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of AmericaBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Thomas MacLarenAfter 19031920Partner 


Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.