Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Graham Couper Law |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||28 September 1923 |
|Died: ||13 September 1996 |
|Bio Notes: ||Graham Couper Law was born on 28 September 1923, the son of William Couper and his wife Eliza, and lived in Rhu during his early years. He was educated at Glasgow Academy, Ardvreck Preparatory and Merchiston Castle Schools. He studied for the degree of MA at King's College, Cambridge from 1940-41 and from 1947-50, his studies having been interrupted by the Second World War. During the War he served with the Royal Engineers. He was awarded a College Exhibition and distinction in his thesis and was admitted ARIBA in 1951 (and ARIAS io 1955). |
He worked as an assistant with Adams Holden & Pearson in London and then moved to Glasgow to the practice of Burnet & Boston. He was with the Weir Housing Corporation in Coatbridge for a spell before joining Robert Matthew's newly established private practice in Edinburgh (later Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall) in November 1954. One of his first projects there was Kincardine Power Station. He formed a partnership with James Dunbar-Nasmith (also of Matthew's firm) in 1957. He undertook some tutorial work at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1960s. He was elected FRIAS in 1963.
According to his obituarist in 'The Scotsman' Law was responsible for all the theatre designs that the practice produced in its early days - a fact also acknowledged by Dunbar-Nasmith. These included the Eden Court Theatre, Inverness and the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, which made use of its striking site. Both designs reintroduced the idea of operatic excitement to the auditorium and were important landmarks in post-war theatre design.
Law was also responsible for the design of a number of exhibitions for the Edinburgh Festival, some of which were carried out in association with Richard Buckle. Among others were the Epstein, Barbara Hepworth, Indian Art and Dance, and Treasures from Scottish Country Houses exhibitions.
The practice expanded over the years and a branch office was opened in Forres in 1975. A year before he retired from the partnership he supported the expansion of the business into Germany with the acquisition of a practice in Wiesbaden.
Law took an active interest in matters relating to the profession and served on the Council of the Edinburgh Architectural Association, the RIAS Council and the ARCUK Council and on its professional purposes committee. From 1980 Law was an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, to which he was a regular contributor of both painting and architecture and from 1913 an Academician. He was the first chairman from 1977 to 1981 of an organisation dedicated to providing studio accommodation for artists and craftsmen, Workshops and Artists' Studio Provision (WASPS).
He was very clear-minded and applied this to any problems that arose during a job and ensured that the first concept of a design was not lost until the building was completed. As a person Law was very modest despite his prodigious talents, and hated publicity. He delighted in the company of close friends and his large family, to whom he was devoted.
Law retired in 1984. He died from cancer on 13 September 1996, survived by his wife Isobel Evelyn Alexander Drysdale and their four children and ten grandchildren. Dunbar-Nasmith continued the practice thereafter.
Publications: 'Greek Thomson' in Architectural Review May 1954.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Rosshill, Dalmeny, West Lothian, Scotland||Private||Before 1955||After 1970|| |
|Duneira, Rhu, Dunbartonshire, Scotland||Private||c. 1955 *|| || |
|54, Frederick Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1964 *|| || |
|16, Dublin Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1979 *||After 1987|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Bailey, Rebecca M||1996||Scottish architects' papers: a source book|| ||Edinburgh: The Rutland Press||p129|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p18-19 Kincardine Power Station|
|Glendinning, Miles||2008||Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew|| ||RIBA Publishing||p156,171,236,238|
|Municipal Annual||1964||Scottish Municipal Annual||1964-1965|| || |
|RIBA||1950||The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|RIBA||1964||The RIBA Kalendar 1964-65|| || || |
|RIBA||1970||RIBA Directory 1970|| || || |
|RIBA||1979||Directory of members|| || || |
|RIBA||1987||RIBA Directory of Members 1987|| || || |
|Willis, Peter||1977||New architecture in Scotland|| || ||p80-3 Eden Court Theatre|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|RIAS Newsletter||November 1996||v7, no9|| ||Death notice|
|Scotsman||17 September 1996|| || ||Obituary|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIAS, Rutland Square||Records of membership|| || |