Basic Biographical Details

Name: Reuben Johnson Oluwole Wright
Designation: Architect
Born: 1 July 1914
Died: July 1990 or August 1990
Bio Notes: Reuben Johnson Oluwole Wright was born on 1 July 1914. He took the full-time course at Edinburgh College of Art from October 1943. From 19 August 1946 to 17 September 1947 he worked as an architectural assistant with the City Architect's Department in Edinburgh. He was admitted ARIBA on 7 March 1950, proposed by J Ray Walker, William Innes Thomson and Leslie Grahame Thomson. After graduation he worked for the Planning Section of the Department of Health for Scotland and was living in Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. He found time to study for the diploma in Town and Country Planning at Edinburgh and graduated in 1951.

Later in 1951 he moved to a post as architect with the Sierra Leone Government. In 1952 he was appointed a town planning officer with the Government and at the same time was apart-time lecturer at Fourah Bay College. By 1956 he had been promoted to the position of acting senior architect in charge of the Architect's Department, but two years later he was a town planning officer again. In 1960 having set up from scratch the Ministry of Housing and Country Planning, he became Secretary and Town Planning Officer, with responsibility for building control, housing schemes, town planning and rent restriction. In 1964 Wright became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry. Besides being responsible for the sections that were under his control when he was secretary, he was also director of all policies with regard to development. He gained a further promotion in 1967 when he became Permanent Secretary in the Department of Works, Transport and Communications, later the Ministry of Works. In this post he was in charge of policy for development and maintenance of buildings, roads, bridges, water supply, electricity and water undertakings.

Detailed information about the buildings he designed in Sierra Leone are outwith the scope of this Dictionary. However one large project in which he was involved was the layout, development and construction of the Wilberforce Spur, now an exclusive housing area. He also participated in the design of the town hall at Freetown with the architects Niven & Borys.

Wright sat on various committees. He was co-opted onto the Freetown City Council. He sat on the United Nations Building Committee as representative of Sierra Leone, later becoming chairman; he was a member of the Ecomonic Commission for Africa for the Africa Building Committee. He was instrumental in setting up the technical classes at Fourah Bay College which eventually grew into the new University of Sierra Leone.

The chronology of his later years is difficult to understand. He retired from his position with the Sierra Leone Government in 1969 and was in a group practice (possibly back in England) with Michael Wills of Kenneth Scott Associates and with Simon Enthoven of Enthoven & Mock. This became Wright Wills Enthoven by 1970. Wright returned to Sierra Leone and was based there in through the 1970s until at least 1979. The practice name changed to Olu Wright Associates at some point - perhaps about 1980.

Wright died in 1990.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 424, Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 2 of 412, Kissy road, Freetown, Sierra LeonePrivate/business(?)1954 *After 1970 
Item 3 of 418, Gloucester Street, Freetown, Sierra LeonePrivate1970  
Item 4 of 4PO Box 1189, Freetown, Sierra LeoneBusiness1979 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Wright Willis Enthovenc. 1970 Architect 

RIBA

RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5Simon Enthoven3 June 1970For Fellowship
Item 2 of 5Leslie Grahame Thomson (or Leslie Grahame-Thomson; later Leslie Grahame MacDougall)7 March 1950For Associateship
Item 3 of 5William Innes Thomson7 March 1950For Associateship
Item 4 of 5J Ray Walker7 March 1950For Associateship
Item 5 of 5Michael Willis3 June 1970For Fellowship

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 5RIBA1954RIBA Kalendar 1953-54   
Item 3 of 5RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   
Item 4 of 5RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 5 of 5RIBA1979Directory of members   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no11402; (F no7124) Combined Box 175)

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