Baird trained with Alexander Watt before joining
practice, where he stayed until 1843.
He assisted Hamilton on most of his
later buildings and eventually became a partner of Hamilton's son-in-law,
After they parted, he entered into partnership with
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson
and later became his brother-in-law when both were
married in a double ceremony to the grand-daughters of Peter Nicholson.
They worked together on most of Thomson's best
known buildings but it was Thomson's individuality which is most evident.
Pollok Academy, 2097 Pollokshaws Road (1856, dem. 1968), designed when
Baird was architect to the Stirling Maxwell family, the local landowners,
has been identified by Frank Worsdall as being an example of a project in which
Thomson assisted Baird. Baird enlarged the school in 1874-5.
In 1860, he rebuilt Haggs Castle, 100 St. Andrew's Drive,
the Maxwell's former seat, as a house for their estate factor.
He also built
houses in Dumbartonshire (Rosslea) and Fife (Balsusney), and St. Peter's Church
and Parsonage, Kirkaldy.
His other Glasgow work includes the New East End Theatre, Tobago Street and Stevenson
Street (1876, dem.), and the reconstruction of the interior of David Hamilton's Hutchesons' Hospital, 158 Ingram Street (1876),
where he inserted a splendid new hall, a grand staircase and ground floor boardroom and offices.
Together with most Glasgow architects, he participated in the City Chambers competition of 1881, submitting his entry anonymously
and unsuccessfully under the motto Light and Air.
An authority on the city's architectural heritage,
he also served as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects and was a
Captain in the 1st Lanarkshire Volunteers. His obituary in the RIBA
was written by the artist William 'Crimea' Simpson.