Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Ross, Doak & Whitelaw |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1954 |
|Ended: || |
|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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Glasgow, Scotland||Business|| || ||Doak and Whitelaw's office|
|13, Bon Accord Square, Aberdeen, Scotland||Business||1970 *||After 1975||Ross's office|
|2, Clifton Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||Before 1975||After 1985|| |
|18a, Carden Place, Aberdeen, Scotland||Business||1980 *|| ||Branch office|
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Allen, Nic (ed.)|| ||Scottish Architects in Conservation|| || ||p100|
|RIBA||1980||Directory of Practices 1980|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||8 May 1964|| || ||p975|