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Alan Reiach

551 11

Description Alan Reiach

Date 1930 to 1976

Collection Alan Reiach

Catalogue Number 551 11

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Collection represents virtually all that survives of Alan Reiach’s architectural graphic work and comprises 487 drawings, 73 photographic postcards and 134 negatives. This material dates from Reiach’s student days in 1932 to just after his retirement in 1976. 93 projects are represented and reflect Reiach’s enthusiasm for a new architecture that was influenced by contemporary continental work while being sympathetic to the Scottish environment. This architectural philosophy is encapsulated in Reiach’s seminal publication Building Scotland: a Cautionary Guide (1944), written in collaboration with Robert Hurd (1905-1963). Edinburgh-based projects represented in the Collection include the College of Agriculture for the University of Edinburgh (1951); St John’s Church, Oxgangs (1956); Appleton Tower, George Square (1962-72). Also included are drawings for the New Club, Princes Street (1967-69), which was designed under the leadership of Renton within the strict guidelines of the Princes Street Panel and involved the demolition of the original building, designed by William Burn (1789-1870) in 1834. Drawings in the Collection for projects outside Edinburgh include a competition entry for the University of Sheffield (1953); a church at Easthouses, Dalkeith (1953); Knox Academy, Haddington (1956-58); Dumbarton Civic Theatre and Community Centre (1962-66); Stirling University Sports Centre (1969-70); and an unrealised development for George Square, Glasgow (1973). Reiach’s contributions to Scotland’s New Towns are preserved in the form of designs for Kildrum Parish Church (1955-66) and St Mungo’s Church, both in Cumbernauld (1962-64). Reiach’s student and postgraduate work in the Collection features a number of competition entries, including the Rural Workers Housing Competition (1932), the Soane Medallion (1934) and the Rowand Anderson Prize (1934). Collaborative competition entries with Robert Matthew include Ilkestone, Derbyshire (1st place, 1938); Tanfield Primary School, Edinburgh (3rd place, 1939); and the Waverly Market, Edinburgh (1939).

Archive History The Collection comprises drawings selected by Alan Reiach shortly before his death in 1992. Ownership of the drawings passed to his widow following his death, and they were partially sorted and listed at this stage by his partner Stuart Renton. The Collection was included in the Survey of Scottish Architectural Practices (SSAP) in 1993 and was subsequently presented to RCAHMS (Accession No. 1993/104) The Collection was catalogued and conserved as part of the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project (SAPPP) between 1999 and 2004.

System of Arrangement The Collection was ordered by project prior to its arrival at RCAHMS. This original order has been maintained and the items arranged chronologically and according to drawing type (i.e. plans, sections, elevations and details) within each project.

Related Material For other Alan Reiach papers see the SAPPP Schomberg Scott Collection. The Lorimer & Matthew Collection may contain material related to Reiach’s apprenticeship there in the late 1920s.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted, except where conservation concerns exist.

Administrative History Alan Reiach (1910-1992) was born in London on 2 March 1910 and served an apprenticeship with Sir Robert Lorimer from 1928. He studied at architecture at Edinburgh College of Art and qualified as an architect in 1934, having won the RIBA Tite Prize, Soane Medallion and the RIBA Silver Medal. In the following year Reiach gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Town Planning and then embarked on a tour of America, Eastern Europe and Russia with the assistance of a Major Andrew Grant Travel Scholarship. Whilst travelling in the USA, he met, and was greatly impressed by, Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959). Reiach commenced independent practice from his house at 14 Randolph Place, Edinburgh, in 1933, concentrating on small-scale domestic commissions. Between 1936 and 1937 he worked in the London offices of Robert Atkinson & Partners and George Grey Wornum (1888-1957). Reiach returned to Edinburgh College of Art in 1938, as a research and teaching fellow, and pursued his interest in Scottish vernacular architecture. By 1940 he had joined the Scottish Office as a member of the Clyde Valley Regional Planning Study Team, which recommended the development of new towns to relieve the pressure of overcrowding in Glasgow. In the same year he began writing a book in collaboration with Robert Hurd (1905-63) entitled Building Scotland: A Cautionary Guide (1944), which advocated a new architecture that was influenced by contemporary continental design and sympathetic to the Scottish environment. In 1946 Reiach set up practice at 7 Albert Terrace, Edinburgh, and returned to Edinburgh College of Art as a senior lecturer the following year. He formed a professional association with Ralph Cowan, the Head of the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, when they were jointly appointed as architects for the new College of Agriculture at Kings Buildings, Edinburgh in 1948. This single project partnership, known as Reiach & Cowan, was based at 30 Melville Street, Edinburgh and moved to 22 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh in 1955 until the project’s completion in 1960. Reiach continued to work under his own name and the Albert Terrace practice expanded during the 1950s with the addition of George McNab (c. 1927-2003), who won the RIBA silver medal in 1952, in 1954 and Stuart Renton (b. 1929) in 1955. Renton was born in Edinburgh and educated at the Royal High School and Edinburgh College of Art. He was apprenticed to Burnet Tait & Lorne, where he worked under the guidance of Francis Lorne (1889-1963). In 1957 Renton was assumed into partnership in 1957 and McNab became a partner in 1958. In the same year, John R Oberlander and Leslie D Mitchell joined the practice and it became known as Alan Reiach & Partners. The practice merged with Eric Hall & Partners in 1965, and was renamed Alan Reiach Eric Hall & Partners. The new partnership practiced from 16 Moray Place, Edinburgh, until 1971 when they moved to 6 Darnaway Street, Edinburgh. In 1967 Mitchell and Oberlander became partners. Reiach retired in 1975, but remained a consultant to the practice until 1980 and in 1981 the practice changed its name to Reiach & Hall. In his later years, Reiach’s talent was recognised through the award of an OBE (1964) and membership of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland (1966-80), the council of the Cockburn Association (1967-76) and the Royal Scottish Academy (Associate Member from 1969, Academician from 1986). He was President and honorary member of the Scottish Arts Club and the only architect of his time to be elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour. He died on 23 July 1992.

Accruals No further accruals are expected

Accession Number 1993/104


Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 11) Alan Reiach

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
All Other 551 11/82 A Drapery House in a Large City 1933 Group Level
All Other 551 11/83 A Riverside Restaurant. Competition, Rutland Prize (unsuccessful) 1933 Group Level
All Other 551 11/84 Exhibition Building. Student design, Rome Scholarship in Architecture 1934 Group Level
All Other 551 11/87 Bus Station. Student design 1934 Group Level
All Other 551 11/88 Study for an entrance to an Exhibition. Student design 1934 Group Level
All Other 551 11/89 Photographic views of architect's own flat 1938 Group Level
All Other 551 11/7 Arts Department and Administration, University of Sheffield 1953 Group Level
All Other 551 11/8 Canteen for Bruce Peebles and Co. Ltd 1954 Group Level
All Other 551 11/9 House for Norman Graham Esquire, Kings Road, Longniddry 1951 Group Level
All Other 551 11/10 Knox Academy, Secondary Department, Haddington 1956 Group Level
All Other 551 11/11 St John's Parish Church for the Church of Scotland Home Board, Oxgangs Path, Edinburgh 1956 Group Level
All Other 551 11/12 Knox Academy, Primary School, Haddington 1958 Group Level
All Other 551 11/31 Competition entry for proposed gallery 1971 Group Level
All Other 551 11/14 Kildrum Parish Church, Cumbernauld 1955 Group Level
All Other 551 11/16 Appleton Tower, George Square, University of Edinburgh 1970 Group Level
All Other 551 11/19 Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh 1964 Group Level
All Other 551 11/20 Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh, Phase 3. 1974 Group Level
All Other 551 11/21 Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh, Phase 3. 1974 Group Level
All Other 551 11/28 Orchard Brae House, Queensferry Road, Edinburgh 1971 Group Level
All Other 551 11/29 Clyde Valley Study 1944 Group Level
All Other 551 11/32 The Gallery of Modern Art, East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh 1955 Group Level
All Other 551 11/36 Norwegian Restaurant Motel 1961 Group Level
All Other 551 11/33 The Gallery of Modern Art, East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh 1960 Group Level
All Other 551 11/35 Clyde Valley Study 1945 Group Level

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