Basic Biographical Details

Name: Castlegate Design Group
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1984
Ended: 2002
Bio Notes: John Donald was born in 1947 at Glenluce, Wigtownshire, the second son of John Hutcheon Donald, architect, and his wife Jane Hughes. He was educated at Wick High School and Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen. He studied architecture at the Scottish Sutherland School in Aberdeen from 1964-1970 and was awarded his diploma in 1970. In 1969 he won the Mary Byrne Travelling Scholarship. During his ‘year out’ in the session 1967-68 he worked in Aberdeen City Architects Department, as assistant to John Merson who was in charge of several large housing developments. From 1970-72 he studied for the degree of MSc in Rural and Regional Planning at the University of Aberdeen. On the completion of this degree course he worked as an assistant with Moira & Moira in Edinburgh. He was admitted ARIBA and ARIAS in 1974.

In 1976 Donald opened business on his own account in partnership with his wife, Marion Coats Donald, also an architect, whom he had married, in 1972. Born Marion Coats McClure in 1947 in Aberdeen, the daughter of James McClure, Superintendent of Works, and his wife Christine Hunter Currie, she had been educated at Aberdeen High School for Girls and Colchester County High School for Girls. She had studied for the Diploma in Architecture at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture from 1966-72. During her ‘year out’ she had been an assistant with Bryan K Thomas in Colchester and Lyster Grillet & Harding in Cambridge. After qualification in 1972 she had held a post with Sir Basil Spence Glover & Ferguson in Edinburgh, moving to the SSHA the following year. She was admitted to the RIBA and as ARIAS in 1974, and from 1974-76 she worked in the practice of Jenkins & Marr in Aberdeen.

John and Marion Donald were both members of the North-East Group of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS), in which Dr William Alvis Brogden had a leading role. Dr William Alvis Brogden is an architectural historian, who took his degree in architecture at North Carolina State University and his doctorate in 18th-century landscape design at Edinburgh, and whose writing on architectural history and conservation includes the RIAS Architectural Guide for Aberdeen. In 1984, the Donalds collaborated with Brogden on several architectural competitions including the Macleod Centre Iona (entry selected for exhibition in London, New York, Glasgow and Aberdeen). The presentation drawings for these competition entries were prepared by Aberdeen School of Architecture student Malcolm Mackay, who went on to follow a career with a Highland local authority. The collaboration between the Donalds and Brogden was formalised in the establishment of the Castlegate Design Group to put into practice the conservation principles of the AHSS. Castlegate Design Group ran concurrently with that of John & Marion Donald until the former’s closure in 2002.

The John & Marion Donald firm continued until 2006, when the Donalds retired.

Besides running his practices, John Donald held a series of teaching posts at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, being a Lecturer from 1974-1991, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head from 1991-1998, Acting Head from 1998-2000 and Deputy Head of the School (Architecture & Surveying) from 2001-2002. He held a Tertiary Level Teaching Certificate which he gained at the Robert Gordon University in 1993. Marion also was a part-time lecturer from 1988-2002 at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and from 2002-2009 Professional Studies Advisor (Architecture) at the Scott Sutherland School.

Both John and Marion were elevated to FRIAS in 2000.

Outwith his professional life, John is interested in history, gardening, reading and collecting books, while Marion’s interests outwith her work include the arts, gardening and the countryside. The couple have two children: James, a project manager with offshore windfarms and Christina, a solicitor.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3177b, Queen's Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness19842002 
Item 2 of 3177b, Queens Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness19842002 
Item 3 of 320, Castlegate, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness19842002 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3John Donald19842002Partner 
Item 2 of 3Marion Coats Donald (née McClure)19842002Partner 
Item 3 of 3William Alvis Brogden (Dr)19842002Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 61984Provost Young's House  AberdeenScotlandRestoration and conversion to flats.
Item 2 of 61985Attitude shopfront, Union Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 3 of 61987Rotunda Place, Polmuir Road  AberdeenScotlandAlterations to facade and extension.
Item 4 of 61988The College of ScalanBraes of Glenlivet BanffshireScotlandRepairs.
Item 5 of 61990Farm cottages, Nethermains of AquhorthiesInverurie AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration of derelict farm cottages.
Item 6 of 61996St James' Episcopal ChurchStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandRepairs.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Brogden, W A1998Aberdeen: an illustrated architectural guideSecond editionEdinburgh: The Rutland Pressp30

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of John DonaldInformation sent via DSA website