Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Joseph Gardner-Medwin
Designation: Architect
Born: 1908(?)
Died: July 1995
Bio Notes: Robert Gardner-Medwin studied architecture at the University of Liverpool where he obtained the degrees of BArch and Dip.CD. He sat the qualifying exam and was elected ARIBA in 1932. He was Commonwealth Fellow from 1934-5 and he spent two years at Harvard University. He then went into private practice for several years, where, for example, he won the competition for Kincorth Housing Scheme c.1936. From 1940 to 1943 he served with the Royal Engineers, and was then released to become the government chief architect for the British West Indies in 1944.

In April 1947 Gardner-Medwin was appointed as Chief Architect and Planning Officer to the Department of Health for Scotland, in succession to Robert Matthew. In this role he was closely involved in, for example, the Clyde Valley Redevelopment Plan. From the late 1940s he was part of group of well-established architects (including Robert Matthew, Stirrat Marshall-Johnson and Donald Gibson) who took the lead in championing the role of the public architect and campaigning for increased public-architectural representation in the RIBA. For example, in the Architect's Journal of 9 June 1949 Gardner-Medwin asked 'How can one expect good architecture from a regiment of architects commanded by a Valuer or, for that matter, by a city engineer or a burgh surveyor'.

In 1951 Gardner-Medwin was elected FRIBA. By late 1951 he had become disillusioned by the lack of political support for regional planning, and in 1952 he left the DHS and returned to Liverpool, where he was appointed to the Roscoe Chair of Architecture at Liverpool University. In July 1973 a valedictory was organised for him by the Liverpool Architectural Society, which was held at Bluecoat Chambers and presided over by Sir Robert Matthew. Seven months later Gardner-Medwin applied to the UN to work as consultant (Sir Robert Matthew acted as his referee).

Robert Gardner-Medwin died in July 1995. His son David Gardner-Medwin (born 1936) became a distinguished neurologist. He died in 2014

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 21, 1Gilmour Road,, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1950  
Item 2 of 2 School of Architecture, University of Liverpool,, Abercrombie Square, Liverpool, EnglandBusinessBefore 1964After 1970 

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 1Department of Health for Scotland (Scottish Board of Health; later Scottish Development Department)19471952Chief Architect 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Robert Robertson Reid Young8 December 1953For 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 9 Space-saving cottages, ToryglenToryglen GlasgowScotlandAs Chief Architect of the Department of Health for Scotland
Item 2 of 9c. 1936Kincorth Competition   ScotlandWon competition
Item 3 of 91950Sighthill Experimental HousesSighthill EdinburghScotlandAs Chief Architect of the Department of Health for Scotland.
Item 4 of 91951Health Centre, SighthillSighthill EdinburghScotlandAs Chief Architect in the Department of Health for Scotland
Item 5 of 91961University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Dept of Engineering with Hudson Beare Lecture Theatre  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Kingham Knight Associates
Item 6 of 91965University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Department of Botany  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Kingham Knight Associates.
Item 7 of 91966University of Edinburgh, Department of Civil Engineering  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Kingam Knight Associates
Item 8 of 91968University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Department of Chemical Engineering  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Kingham Knight Associates
Item 9 of 91969University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources  EdinburghScotlandIn association with Kingham Knight


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p564
Item 2 of 6Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp11, p164-5 Sighthill Health Centre
Item 3 of 6Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishingp88,118,130,133,455
Item 4 of 6RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 6RIBA1964The RIBA Kalendar 1964-65   
Item 6 of 6RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder11 April 1947  p336 (Appointment as Chief Architect and Planner to the Department of Health for Scotland)
Item 2 of 4Builder27 July 1951  p137
Item 3 of 4ScotsmanJuly 2014  Death of David Gardner-Medwin
Item 4 of 4The Independent5 July 1995  Obituary