Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||(Professor) Charles Calthorpe Robertson |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||18 September 1928 |
|Died: || |
|Bio Notes: ||Charles Calthorpe Robertson was born on 18 September 1928. He commenced his architectural training in July 1945 as an apprentice with the Architects Department of Arbroath Town Council while studying part-time at Dundee College of Art. His training was interrupted by war service and he spent two years in the Royal Artillery in 1946-8. In September 1948 he returned to the full time course at the School of Architecture at Dundee College of Art. After gaining his diploma in 1952, he worked initially for Carver Symon & Ross in Brechin but moved to the practice of Thoms & Wilkie of Dundee in February 1953 as an Assistant Architect covering housing and industrial work. He was admitted ARIBA and ARIAS in 1953. |
In 1954 he became an Assistant Architect responsible for primary schools at Essex County Council, before moving back to Dundee in 1955 to take up the position of Senior Architect in the practice of William Mollison Wilson, leading industrial, housing and cinema projects. The following year, Robertson joined Sir Basil Spence & Partners, spending the majority of his time in the Edinburgh office (and one and a half years in the London office), working on projects such as Thurso Secondary School; the Physics Building at King’s College, Newcastle; and Gorbals developments in Glasgow.
Robertson left Spence’s practice in 1962 to become deputy director of the University of Edinburgh’s Housing Research Unit (later Architecture Research Unit) (HRU/ARU). He was promoted to director in 1965. During the decade spent in this capacity, Professor Robertson was very active both within the School of the Built Environment and externally in bodies relating to housing and architecture. He led a staff of 33, 21 architects, 2 sociologists, 1 quantity surveyor and 9 administrative staff.
Robertson also engaged in research as an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Edinburgh (1964-72) and as a consultant to Sir Robert Matthew in 1970-72, leading a multi-disciplinary research team recruited from RMJM and the ARU for the development of a large suburban area of Tripoli in Libya. He was elevated to Fellow of the RIBA and RIAS in 1968. By that time he was a member of the RIBA Housing Group (1966-72, convening it from 1970); RIBA/RIAS representative on the Scottish Committee of the National House Builders Registration Council (1967-72) and member of its Technical Sub-Committee; and a member of the Scottish Working Party on Component Performance (1968-72, chairing it from 1970).
Between 1972 and 1977, Robertson held the position of Professor of Architecture and Department Chairman in the Department of Architecture and Building at the University of Melbourne. He was admitted Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in the year of his arrival in Australia. While there, he joined or chaired a variety of internal and external boards and committees relating to architecture, housing and education, being instrumental, for example, in the establishment of the Centre for Environmental Studies at the university, as well as being involved in the inspection and accreditation of educational schools and departments and undertaking external examining and assessment for different architectural courses or competitions.
Professor Robertson returned to Scotland in 1977 and took up the post of Chief Executive of the National Building Agency (NBA), a government-sponsored technical advisory and consultancy agency which worked to encourage the introduction of more productive and efficient methods of building and to help implement government policies in relation to housing and the construction industry. This involved undertaking studies and research projects for government departments, building clients, manufacturers, contractors and the professions.
After the NBA was disbanded in 1982, Robertson founded the Charles Robertson Partnership, the objective of which was to pursue a high standard of design by employing well-proven building techniques and exploring new ones. When the Partnership was dissolved in 1990, Robertson formed a new practice on his own, Professor Charles Robertson Architect Ltd, to develop work and research with energy efficient housing. Since 1986, Robertson had also been a part-time Professor at the University of Strathclyde and was appointed Professor Emeritus in 1993.
In addition to being involved in an extensive range of public and professional activities throughout his career, Professor Robertson was awarded an OBE in 1995.
Book reviews and Annual Housing Review in the Municipal Year Book, 1963 and 1964.
'Gorbals Redevelopment' Ekistics 1968
'Courtyard Houses, Inchview, Prestonpans' (ARU, April 1966)
'The Right Housing', New Society 17 November 1966.
'Heating Installations at Border Farm Site, Saltcoats' (ARU, December 1966)
'An Extension to the Department of Zoology, University of Edinburgh' (ARU, April 1968)
'Gorbals Redevelopment' Ekistics 1968
'Privacy and Courtyard Housing' (ARU, August 1968)
'Dimensional Co-Ordination' (ARU, August 1968)
'Decisions Affecting the Design of Five Point Blocks' (ARU, 1968)
'Low Rise High Density Housing Study' (ARU, June 1970)
'Aspects of Traffic Separated Housing Layouts (ARU, June 1970)
'Thermal Insulation and House Modernisation' (Scottish Office)
'The Effectiveness of Insulation', with Professor T Marcus (Edinburgh District Council)
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|23, Ladyloan, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland||Private||1953 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Steven Aldridge||1978 *|| || || |
|James Anderson||Early 1970s|| ||Architect|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
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 started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1958||Thurso High School||Thurso|| ||Caithness||Scotland|| |
|1960s||Building Research Station||East Kilbride|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland|| |
|1960s(?)||Glasgow (Abbotsinch) Airport||nr Paisley|| ||Renfrewshire||Scotland||Carried out background research|
|1960s||King's College, University of Durham, Physics Department|| || ||Newcastle-upon-Tyne||England|| |
|1960s||Kirkcudbright Railway Station||Kirkcudbright|| ||Kirkcudbrightshire||Scotland||Redevelopment as 50 dwellings|
|1960s||Multi-storey housing, Little Green Lanes and Court Lane, Sutton Coldfield||Sutton Coldfield|| ||Birmingham, West Midlands||England||As Director of HRU / ARU|
|1960s||Park 3 West Housing (West View)||Cumbernauld|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland|| |
|1965||Flats, Ellor Street Redevelopment, Pendleton||Salford|| ||Greater Manchester||England||As Director of ARU|
|1968||Mid-rise housing, Peacock Street|| || ||Sunderland||England||As Director of HRU/ARU|
|April 1968||University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Department of Zoology||Mayfield|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Laboratory for Department of Zoology - as Director of ARU|
|1969||Flats||Salford|| ||Lancashire||England||As Director|
|1969||Flats and courtyard houses||Cumbernauld|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland||As Director|
|Late 1960s or early 1970s||Juniper Street housing||Tower Hamlets|| ||London||England||As Director of ARU|
|1970||Industrialised Building Project (IBP) housing project||Gurgi|| ||Tripoli (near)||Libya||as consultant to RMJM|
|1970||Laboratory for BRS (British Road Services?)||East Kilbride|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland||As Director|
|1970||St Mary's Street housing||Kirkcudbright|| ||Kirkcudbrightshire||Scotland||As Director of ARU|
|1971||Flats for the City of Salford||Salford|| ||Lancashire||England||As Director of ARU|
|1972||Baird Hall||Linlithgow|| ||West Lothian||Scotland||Conversion of church hall to dwelling house|
|1973||Housing for Kirkcudbright Town Council||Kirkcudbright|| ||Kirkcudbrighthsire||Scotland||As director of ARU|
|1973||Laboratory building for the MRC|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1973||Laboratory for DOE||East Craigs|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1973||Mid-rise housing, Flaxman Road||Lambeth|| ||London||England||As Director of ARU|
|1978||Anderson Institute||Lerwick||Mainland||Shetland||Scotland||Upgrade of premises to provide classroom and library|
|1980s||Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS)||Leith|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Unexecuted proposals for conversion into offices (aborted at tender stage)|
|1980||Crichton House||Pathhead|| ||Midlothian||Scotland||Restoration|
|After 1982||Further Education Institute||Lerwick||Mainland||Shetland||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing for East Motherwell Housing Association||Wishaw|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing for Scottish Special Housing Association||Greenock|| ||Renfrewshire||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing for Scottish Special Housing Association|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing for the physically handicapped|| || || ||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing upgrading||Dalmarnock|| ||Glasgow||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing upgrading||Shawlands|| ||Glasgow||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Housing upgrading, Acre Road|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Johnstone Castle Scheme||Johnstone|| ||Renfrewshire||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Lennox Castle||Lennoxtown|| ||Stirlingshire||Scotland||Ward units|
|After 1982||Ward Units for the Mentally Handicapped||Larbert|| ||Stirlingshire||Scotland|| |
|1983||Templeton's Carpet Factory|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland||Restoration and conversion to offices.|
|Early 1980s||John Player Factory||Stirling|| ||Stirlingshire||Scotland|| |
|After 1982||Lounge and changing accommodation for Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society|| || ||Edinburgh, Midlothian||Scotland|| |
|c. 1967||Road Research Laboratory, Craigshill||Livingston|| ||West Lothian||Scotland||As Director of ARU|
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Allen, Nic (ed.)|| ||Scottish Architects in Conservation|| || ||p97|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p97 Thurso High School|
p98 Abbotsinch Airport
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Professor Charles Robertson's CV||Information sent from Professor Charles Robertson to Yvonne Hillyard, October 2010|| || |
|RIAS, Rutland Square||Records of membership|| || |
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A 14878, F6071 (Combined Box 117)|