Basic Biographical Details

Name: Ross, Doak & Whitelaw
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1954
Bio Notes: David John Alexander Ross was born on 22 August 1899 and was articled to Thomas J Munro of Inverness in 1915. He studied at Aberdeen School of Architecture, Robert Gordon's Technical College from 1921 to 1923, and whilst there, in 1922, was admitted ARIBA. He undertook an 18-month postgraduate course at the College under the Archibald Dawnay Scholarship and was able to travel in France with the aid of the RIAS's Rutland Prize.

On his return to Aberdeen c.1925 he joined John Alexander Ogg Allan and his brother Joseph Anderson Allan as chief assistant. He was responsible for the a number of the modernist schools designed by the firm in the 1930s, and in 1945 became a partner, the practice name becoming Allan, Ross & Allan. Ross was admitted FRIBA on 1 April 1952. At this time the practice was based at 10 Bon-Accord Square, where Ross also appears to have been living.

John Alexander Ogg Allan having died in 1955 and Joseph Anderson Allan in 1956. Around that time Ross entered into a new partnership with Archibald ('Archie') McIntosh Doak and Alistair Robertson Whitelaw of Glasgow, who had recently won the competition for the Children's Church at Sighthill, Edinburgh.

Doak had been born in Greenock on 29 August 1915, the son of Robert Doak, foreman patternmaker in the Caledonian Foundry, Greenock, and Christina McIntosh. He was the second eldest of a family of six, four boys and two girls, who were brought up by two maiden aunts, Helen and Margaret McIntosh, after both parents became invalids. He had been educated at Greenock High School, where he had proved an excellent athlete and footballer, representing Scotland at Schoolboy level and being offered the opportunity to play at Senior level with Morton FC. However, he had chosen instead to pursue a career in architecture, and had been articled to John Keppie & Henderson c.1931, studying at the Glasgow School of Architecture under Harold Hughes from 1933. He had been a successful student, gaining the Glasgow School of Architecture Medal for Excellence in 1936. At the end of his articles he had sought experience elsewhere, including in the office of Thomson Sandilands & MacLeod, but in 1938 he had returned to Keppie & Henderson's as assistant to Andrew Graham Henderson. In that office he became a close friend of Robert W K C Rogerson (born May 1917), later of Rogerson & Spence. After war was declared on 3 September 1939 Doak had followed Colonel Henderson, as he had by then become, to the War Department valuer's office at the Royal College of Science & Technology. He had been called up in the following year and had spent three-and-a-half years in the First Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers at Gibraltar, followed by two years in the army of occupation in Hamburg, working on post-war repair and building projects. He had been demobilised from Halifax in 1946 and had returned to Keppie & Henderson's office. The following year he had been awarded the A Leslie Hamilton Travelling Scholarship. He had subsequently joined the staff of the Department of Health in Edinburgh, and later had returned to Glasgow as assistant to John McNab in the Education section of Glasgow City Architect's Department, experience which was to prove invaluable later.

Whitelaw had been born in 1913 or 1914 in Neilston, Renfrewshire, and had joined the practice of Keppie & Henderson in 1931 or 1932. He had spent most of the Second World War in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. Neither he nor Doak had any track record in independent practice at the time of the Children's Church competition, and it is for this reason that they formed the partnership of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw; Ross, however, took no very active part in it, all the design work being carried out by Doak and Whitelaw. Initially the firm of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw was based in Glasgow, while Ross continued to run his own practice in Aberdeen, passing some commissions to the Glasgow office. Other church commissions quickly followed, and in 1959 Whitelaw too moved to Aberdeen to open a branch office in premises shared with J A O Allan, Ross & Allan at 13 Bon Accord Square. The practice's one major building was Anniesland College of Further Education, built in 1962-64.

Doak served for many years on the Councils of both the Glasgow Institute and the Royal Incorporation. His experience of publishing with the Glasgow Institute and his friendship with the designer Gordon Huntly resulted in an invitation from the Corporation of Glasgow to produce 'Glasgow at a Glance', the pictorial guide to Glasgow's architecture for the Commonwealth Arts Festival. This he undertook in partnership with Professor Andrew McLaren Young, Richmond Professor of Fine Art at the University of Glasgow. Broadly McLaren Young edited the book and wrote the Mackintosh captions, David Walker wrote the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century entries, while Doak contributed the post-war material and attended to the book production. It proved a bestseller and ran to several further editions following McLaren Young's untimely death in 1975; in the same year Ross died on 25 May. Doak died sometime before February 1993, survived by his wife Moira (née Cameron), his sons John who practised in the Cayman Islands and Christopher who practised in Glasgow, and by his daughter Caroline. Whitelaw died in Aberdeen on 2 September 1994, aged eighty. He was survived by his wife May, who died c.2004, and his only child, Moira.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness  Doak and Whitelaw's office
Item 2 of 413, Bon Accord Square, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness1970 *After 1975Ross's office
Item 3 of 42, Clifton Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1975After 1985 
Item 4 of 418a, Carden Place, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness1980 * Branch office

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 3David John Alexander Ross1954 Partner 
Item 2 of 3Archibald Macintosh Doak1954 Partner 
Item 3 of 3Alistair Robertson Whitelaw (or Alexander Robertson Whitelaw)1954 Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 251955Drumry St Mary's Church of ScotlandDrumchapel GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 251955Garthamlock and Craigend Church of Scotland  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 251955St Nicholas Church of ScotlandWester Hailes EdinburghScotlandFinal design as built - Doak and Whitelaw responsible
Item 4 of 25c. 1956Primary SchoolDrumchapel GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 25c. 1956Primary SchoolDrumchapel GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 251960sAmochrie Primary School  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 7 of 251960sCooked meats factory for McKellar Watt  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 251960sPrinting works and paper store for D C Thomson  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 251960sScreen printing factoryKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 10 of 251961(?)St George's and St Peter's Church of Scotland and church hallEasterhouse GlasgowScotlanddesign exhibited in 1958 per Builder
Item 11 of 251962Anniesland College of Further Education  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 251962Colston and Milton Church of ScotlandMilton GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 251962Moncrieffe Church of Scotland, CalderwoodEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 14 of 251963Camphill High SchoolPaisley RenfrwshireScotland 
Item 15 of 251963Grange Senior Secondary SchoolCastlemilk GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 251964Foxbar Primary SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 251966St Clare's RC ChurchEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 251970Papdale House Orkney ScotlandRestoration
Item 19 of 25Before 1970Residential SchoolAlyth PerthshireScotland 
Item 20 of 251971College of Education  AberdeenScotland 
Item 21 of 251975Aberdeen Technical College  AberdeenScotland 
Item 22 of 25Before 1975Area laundry for WHBGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 23 of 25Before 1975Ayrshire Central HospitalIrvine AyrshireScotlandArea laundry
Item 24 of 25Before 1975Greenock and District Combination Hospital, GatesideGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandArea Laundry
Item 25 of 251979Rankin Memorial Maternity and Children's HospitalGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandSpecial Baby Care Unit


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Allen, Nic (ed.) Scottish Architects in Conservation  p100
Item 2 of 2RIBA1980Directory of Practices 1980   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder8 May 1964  p975