© All rights reserved. Courtesy of David Ross.  Picture taken at opening ceremony of the "New Life For The New Town" Exhibition at the Planning Department Gallery in Market Street, Edinburgh  in the late 60 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alan Reiach
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 March 1910
Died: 23 July 1992
Bio Notes: Alan Reiach was born in London on 2 March 1910, the son of Herbert L Reiach, a wealthy printer, amateur naval architect, and founding editor of Yachting Monthly, and Marie Barbara Federson who was Polish. He was brought up in Acton until the age of six and thereafter by his grandmother and aunt in Mill Hill until he was old enough to be sent to a prep school in Eastbourne. In 1921 his aunt moved to Edinburgh where he attended Edinburgh Academy from 1922 until 1928 when he was articled to Lorimer & Matthew: there he became a close friend of Robert Matthew who was four years older. In 1929 he made a study tour to East Anglia and to Wiltshire and Somerset the following year.

Whilst with Lorimer & Matthew he studied part-time at Edinburgh College of Art under John Begg, and he continued to study there for two years full-time after completing his apprenticeship in 1932. He obtained his diploma in June 1934, passed the Professional Practice exam the following month, and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December 1934, his proposers being Begg, John Fraser Matthew and Frank Charles Mears. During his final two years of study he won the Soane Medallion, the Tite Prize, the RIBA Silver Medal and an Andrew Grant travelling scholarship. The last of these was deferred a year while he took the postgraduate planning course, but in 1935-6 he visited France, Scandinavia, the USA (where he joined Frank Lloyd Wright for a short period at Taliesin) and the USSR. Like Robert Scott Morton and the slightly older Esmé Gordon he was a superb draughtsman and the sketches from his study tours are treasured by those fortunate enough to have them. On his return he spent about a year in London with Robert Atkinson and George Grey Wornum prior to becoming a research and teaching fellow at Edinburgh College of Art in 1938.

Reiach commenced practice in 1933 from his house in Randolph Place before completing his course at the College, his first commission being a house in Suffolk. In the years 1935 to 1937 it necessarily went into abeyance, but from 1938 he entered competitions with Robert Matthew, winning that for the baths and fire station at Ilkeston in 1938. He was also active in the Saltire Society, publishing a slim but influential volume entitled 'Building Scotland' with Robert Hurd in 1938.

In 1940 Robert Matthew brought Reiach into the Scottish Office as assistant secretary of the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee at the Department of Health. In the same year Reiach married Julie Dittmar, but the marriage did not survive wartime conditions in Scotland. His role at the Scottish Office ended in 1946 when he recommenced practice. With the help of a senior lecturing post at Edinburgh College of Art he managed to re-establish his practice in 1948, forming a single-project partnership with a colleague at the College, Ralph Cowan, to design the new College of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh's King's Buildings site. In parallel he married a second time to Patricia Ann Duncan in 1949 and attracted an exceptionally able staff, George McNab in 1955 and Stuart Renton in 1956. By 1957 Reiach was so busy he had to resign from the College of Art and in the same year he took Renton into partnership, followed by McNab in 1958; and in the latter year John R Oberlander and Leslie D Mitchell joined the staff. Reiach was elevated to FRIBA in early 1959, his proposers being William Hardie Kininmonth, J Holt and Robert Hogg Matthew.

Reiach was a vice-president of the Edinburgh Architectural Association in 1959.

In 1965 Alan Reiach & Partners merged with Eric Hall & Partners to form the still more successful Alan Reiach, Eric Hall & Partners, the partners including Oberlander and Mitchell from 1967 onwards.

Reiach retired in 1975 but remained with the practice as part-time consultant until 1980. Because of the war years, his teaching commitments and the early involvement of partners in his university hospital and school projects, the period in which Reiach's own ability as an architect can be clearly recognised was short: but he was appointed OBE in 1964, served on the Royal Fine Art Commission from 1966 until 1980 and was elected ARSA in 1969. He was elected full academician in 1986, but by that date his elevation owed more to his exceptional skill as draughtsman and watercolourist than to architecture.

In person Reiach was small in stature but very good-looking, always stylishly dressed with a bow tie and often a black beret which gave him a mildly Frenchified appearance. His personality was hugely engaging, witty, excitable and enthusiastic in a carefully controlled way, and intellectually challenging: he was always great fun to be with. He died on 23 July 1992 after a short illness. He was survived by his wife Patricia, one son and one daughter.

The Lesser Architecture of Scotland, 4volumes, Edinburgh (ECA library 72 (411) B73

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 814, Randolph Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/businessBefore 1933After 1939 
Item 2 of 820, Nelson Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1934 *  
Item 3 of 87, Albert Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/businessBefore 19461950(?) 
Item 4 of 830, Melville Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19481955 
Item 5 of 822, Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1955After 1960 
Item 6 of 83, Winton Loan, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1962  
Item 7 of 816, Moray Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19651971 
Item 8 of 86, Darnaway Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19711980 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 8Reiach & Cowan  Partner 
Item 2 of 8Lorimer & Matthew19281932Apprentice 
Item 3 of 8Frank Lloyd WrightAfter 1935Before 1936Assistant 
Item 4 of 8Robert Atkinson1936Before 1938Assistant 
Item 5 of 8George Grey WornumAfter 19361938Assistant 
Item 6 of 8Department of Health for Scotland (Scottish Board of Health; later Scottish Development Department)19401946AssistantAssistant Secretary of the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee
Item 7 of 8Alan Reiach & Partners19591965Partner 
Item 8 of 8Alan Reiach Eric Hall & Partners1965 Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4(Professor) George Alexander Macnab (misspelt McNab)After 1954 Assistant 
Item 2 of 4Robert ('Bob') Dawsonc. 19561959  
Item 3 of 4Leslie Douglas Mitchell1957 Assistant 
Item 4 of 4John ('Jack') Reid Oberlander19581963Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6John Begg3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 2 of 6John HoltEarly 1959For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6(Sir) William Hardie Kininmonth Early 1959for Fellowship
Item 4 of 6John Fraser Matthew3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 5 of 6Robert Hogg MatthewEarly 1959for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6(Sir) Frank Charles Mears3 December 1934for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 7Peter Burnett Caird16 July 1969For Fellowship
Item 2 of 7Thomas Harley Haddow5 June 1968for Fellowship
Item 3 of 7(Professor) George Alexander Macnab (misspelt McNab)16 July 1969For Fellowship
Item 4 of 7William Alistair Miller17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 5 of 7John Herdman Reid17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 6 of 7James Stuart Renton16 July 1969For Fellowship
Item 7 of 7(Sir) Harry Anthony Wheeler (or simply Sir Anthony Wheeler)19 July 1967for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 108April 1933Prestwick Burgh Chambers and Public BathsPrestwick AyrshireScotlandCompetition entry. Robert Matthew responsible with the help of Alan Reiach.
Item 2 of 1081934Housing, Piershill Barracks sitePiershill EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 1081934Unidentified house  SuffolkEngland 
Item 4 of 1081935A New University for Edinburgh   EdinburghScotland 
Item 5 of 108c. 1937Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art  DundeeScotlandCompetition entry with Robert Hogg Matthew, though not in formal partnership
Item 6 of 108c. 1937Watford Fire StationWatford HertfordshireEnglandWith Robert Hogg Matthew
Item 7 of 1081938Duncan of Jordanstone College, Matthew Building  DundeeScotlandDate of original competition design which included scheme for Matthew Building - not successful. In conjunction with Robert Hogg Matthew
Item 8 of 1081938Ilkeston Baths competition  DerbyshireEnglandWon competition in association with Robert Matthew
Item 9 of 1081938Kirkcaldy Town HallKirkcaldy FifeScotlandCompetition drawings - (while still a student?) - not successful
Item 10 of 1081938Tanfield Primary School  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design (with Robert Hogg Matthew) - third prize
Item 11 of 1081939Exhibition Halls, Waverley Market  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design
Item 12 of 1081947Scottish Building Centre, Exhibition stands   GlasgowScotlandUnclear which stands he was responsible for.

Exhibition stands for the Metal Door Frame Makers, the Council of Industrial Design, Arthur Johnson (Paper) Limited, P and N Johnson (Paintmakers) Limited, Ascot Water Heaters, and the Patent Glazing Conference. Details.
Item 13 of 1081948University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Department of Agriculture  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Ralph Cowan
Item 14 of 1081949National MonumentCalton Hill EdinburghScotlandScheme of development proposed for Festival of Britain celebrations
Item 15 of 1081949Shops and houses, WhitemossEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotlandIn conjunction with Tom Spaven
Item 16 of 1081950House for Dr RossBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 17 of 10819511951 Festival of Britain building   EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 1081951House for Norman GrahamLongniddry East LothianScotland 
Item 19 of 1081952Local Centre, WhitemossEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 20 of 1081954Easthouses ChurchDalkeith MidlothianScotland 
Item 21 of 1081954Parish ChurchEasthouses MidlothianScotland 
Item 22 of 1081955Coillesdene Avenue housing  EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 1081955Cottage near Pencaitland Pencaitland East LothianScotland 
Item 24 of 1081955Gallery of Modern Art  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 1081956Block of flats, Myreside  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 1081956Festival Centre, Castle Terrace site  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandPlans for Festival Centre
Item 27 of 1081956High FlatsRoseburn EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 1081956House for Dr Dudley  EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 1081956Low cost private housing  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 1081956St John's Parish ChurchOxgangs EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 1081956University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Field StationRoslin Edinburgh  
Item 32 of 1081956Villa, 5 Morningside Place with stables  EdinburghScotlandAlteration to villa and stables for studio
Item 33 of 1081957Belhaven HospitalDunbar East LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 34 of 1081957Buildings in George Street  EdinburghScotlandProposed alterations
Item 35 of 1081957House for Norman GrahamLongniddry East LothianScotlandAddition
Item 36 of 1081958Fouldes HousePencaitland East LothianScotland 
Item 37 of 108After 1958Secondary SchoolAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 38 of 1081959Housing scheme fo Messrs Crudens, NewhailesMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 39 of 1081959Maitland Park Housing schemeMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 40 of 1081950s or 1960sEdinburgh Academy, Western Classrooms  EdinburghScotlandLink between Western classrooms and old Mathematics block at NW of forecourt
Item 41 of 1081960sForres AcademyForres MorayshireScotlandAlso swimming pool, uncertain date perhaps 1970s
Item 42 of 1081960sHaddington 'face-lift' improvement schemeHaddington East LothianScotland 
Item 43 of 1081960sKnox Academy, Primary SchoolHaddington East LothianScotland 
Item 44 of 1081960sSecondary SchoolKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 45 of 1081960sSenior Secondary SchoolKilwinning AyrshireScotland 
Item 46 of 1081960George Wolfe HouseTorphichen West LothianScotland 
Item 47 of 1081961House, Newhailes Musselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 48 of 10819621, 3 Winton Loan  EdinburghScotland 
Item 49 of 1081962Ash HouseGartocharn DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 50 of 1081962Festival Centre, Castle Terrace site  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandFurther schemes for Festival Centre
Item 51 of 1081962Golspie High SchoolGolspie SutherlandScotland 
Item 52 of 1081962Kildrum Parish ChurchCumbernauld LanarkshireScotlandFrom 1962
Item 53 of 1081963City Hospital, flats for resident staff  EdinburghScotland 
Item 54 of 1081963Rock CottagesTorphichen West LothianScotland 
Item 55 of 1081963University of Edinburgh Appleton Tower (First Year Science Building)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 56 of 1081964Fire StationHaddington East LothianScotland 
Item 57 of 1081964Housing development  EdinburghScotlandRedevelopment of temporary housing
Item 58 of 1081964Office blockMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 59 of 1081964Portobello Old and Windsor Place Parish Church hallPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 60 of 1081964Silverknowes Golf Club and Sports PavilionSilverknowes EdinburghScotland 
Item 61 of 1081964St Mungo's Church and hallCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 62 of 1081965University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Experimental Petrology  EdinburghScotland 
Item 63 of 108After 1965Bow Yett housing developmentTorphichen West LothianScotlandPartner in charge
Item 64 of 108After 1965North Gate housing developmentTorphichen West LothianScotlandPartner in charge
Item 65 of 108After 1965University of Liverpool, Veterinary Field StationLeahurst LiverpoolEnglandAs senior partner
Item 66 of 108After 1965Western General Hospital, Medical Research Council Building  EdinburghScotlandAs senior partner
Item 67 of 1081966Challenger LodgeTrinity EdinburghScotlandAdditions
Item 68 of 1081966Craigleith House  EdinburghScotlandRedevelopment
Item 69 of 1081966New Club  EdinburghScotlandRedevelopment
Item 70 of 1081966Waverley Station, Booking Hall  EdinburghScotlandAs senior partner
Item 71 of 10815 April 1966Cultural Centre for Glasgow, Buchanan St  GlasgowScotlandIndependent architect brought in to discuss possible modifications and alterations to city architect A. G. Jury's design following public and professional concern over the appearance of the building
Item 72 of 10820 May 1966Dumbarton Central Area DevelopmentDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 73 of 10820 May 1966Dumbarton Civic Theatre and Community CentreDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandUnclear if he was in sole charge of this project. Others may or may not have been involved.
Item 74 of 1081967Denny Civic TheatreDenny StirlingshireScotland 
Item 75 of 1081967German Church  EdinburghScotlandExecutant architects
Item 76 of 1081967Greendykes Children's CentreCraigmillar EdinburghScotland 
Item 77 of 1081968Heriot-Watt University, Maths, Physics and Chemistry departmentsRiccarton MidlothianScotland 
Item 78 of 1081968Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton CampusRiccarton Midlothian  
Item 79 of 1081969Bush House, Tropical Veterinary Medicine CentreRoslin MidlothianScotland 
Item 80 of 1081969Office block, 2, 2A and 3 Queen Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 81 of 1081969University of Edinburgh, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons  EdinburghScotlandAdditions
Item 82 of 108Late 1960sColeraine Technical CollegeColeraine LondonerryNorthern Ireland 
Item 83 of 1081970Festival Centre, Castle Terrace site  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandThird scheme for Festival Centre
Item 84 of 1081970Housing schemes for SSHA   ScotlandWork planned.
Item 85 of 1081970Office block, 10 and 12 Young Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 86 of 1081970Police Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandAs senior partner
Item 87 of 1081970University of Stirling, sports buildings with swimming poolStirling StirlingshireScotlandWork planned.
Item 88 of 1081970Veterinary College  EdinburghScotlandWork planned.
Item 89 of 1081970Western General Hospital, Human Genetics block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 90 of 1081971Burrell Collection  GlasgowScotlandAlan Reiach probably responsible as he signed a number of the competition drawings.
Item 91 of 1081971Gannochy HouseSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 92 of 1081971Orchard Brae House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 93 of 1081971Stock Exchange premises  EdinburghScotlandInvestigation - as senior partner - and demolition the year after
Item 94 of 1081972Heriot-Watt University, Department of Civil EngineeringRiccarton MidlothianScotland 
Item 95 of 1081972Offices at North St David Street, west side  EdinburghScotland 
Item 96 of 1081972SSHA housing, BranshillNew Sauchie ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 97 of 108197347 Iona Street  EdinvburghScotlandAlterations - as senior partner
Item 98 of 1081973Heriot-Watt University, Mechanical Engineering DepartmentRiccarton MidlothianScotland 
Item 99 of 1081973Office development for Alex Lawrie  GlasgowScotland 
Item 100 of 1081974Inverleith HouseInverleith EdinburghScotlandExtension
Item 101 of 1081974Offices for Friends Provident, Charlotte Lane  EdinburghScotland 
Item 102 of 108Before 1975Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus, students' hostelsRiccarton MidliothianScotland 
Item 103 of 1081977George Wolfe HouseTorphichen West LothianScotlandAddition
Item 104 of 1081977Small House on Site Belonging to Hay Bryson Esq  EdinburghScotland 
Item 105 of 1081978Challenger LodgeTrinity EdinburghScotlandAddition of SW wing for St Columba's Hospice
Item 106 of 1081983St George's School, Arts Block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 107 of 108c. 1937Wood Green Borough Council headquartersWood Green MiddlesexEnglandCompetition entry. In association with Robert Matthew.
Item 108 of 108c. 1946Clyde Valley Regional Plan   ScotlandDrew up case study proposals for Leven Valley. Cottage and flat groupings


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 11Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Press 
Item 2 of 11Edinburgh Academy1982Edinburgh Academy Register   
Item 3 of 11Frew, John1999The Reiach Surveys 1932-42   
Item 4 of 11Frew, John2001Alan Reiach's Scottish Vernacular Survey 1937-4325, no2Lowe, A D Morrison (ed) 
Item 5 of 11Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp11
p13 Photograph of Alan Reiach 1968; Whitemoss shops and houses East Kilbride
p14 drawing of case study proposals for Leven Valley. Cottage and flat groupings
pp32, 34 Winton Loan
p162-3 New Club
p165-7 Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh
Item 6 of 11McEwan, P J M1994Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture   
Item 7 of 11Post Office Directories     
Item 8 of 11RCAHMS2004Creating a Future for the Past: the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotlandpp 106-9
Item 9 of 11Scott Morton, Robert Alan Reiach OBE RSA RSW RIBA FRIAS: A Memoir   
Item 10 of 11Who Was Who Who was Who  For the years 1991-95
Item 11 of 11Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p32-3 Kildrum Parish Church
p84-7 The New Club

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 10Builder1 May 1959  'Edinburgh Architectural Association' p832
Item 2 of 10Building Design21 August 1992   
Item 3 of 10RIAS Newsletter11 October 1992No 3  
Item 4 of 10RIBA JournalNovember 1992 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 10Scotsman26 January 1990   
Item 6 of 10Scotsman26 February 1990   
Item 7 of 10Scotsman25 July 1992   
Item 8 of 10Scotsman4 April 1994   
Item 9 of 10The Times13 August 1992   
Item 10 of 10Trans… of the Edinburgh Architectural Association1992No 31Edinburgh: Edinburgh Architectural Association 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research notes for 'Scottish Thirties'; personal recollections of David M Walker
Item 2 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5567 (stored under F5385, combined box 75); F no5385 (combined box 75)
Item 3 of 3University of St Andrews LibraryAlan Reiach photograph collection  


© All rights reserved. Courtesy of David Ross.  Picture taken at opening ceremony of the "New Life For The New Town" Exhibition at the Planning Department Gallery in Market Street, Edinburgh  in the late 60 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of David Ross. Picture taken at opening ceremony of the "New Life For The New Town" Exhibition at the Planning Department Gallery in Market Street, Edinburgh in the late 60's. Reiach in centre facing left.