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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|24, Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1950 *|| || |
|12, Kissy road, Freetown, Sierra Leone||Private/business(?)||1954 *||After 1970|| |
|18, Gloucester Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone||Private||1970|| || |
|PO Box 1189, Freetown, Sierra Leone||Business||1979 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Wright Willis Enthoven||c. 1970|| ||Architect|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|RIBA||1950||The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|RIBA||1954||RIBA Kalendar 1953-54|| || || |
|RIBA||1961||Kalendar 1960-61|| || || |
|RIBA||1970||RIBA Directory 1970|| || || |
|RIBA||1979||Directory of members|| || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A no11402; (F no7124) Combined Box 175)|
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