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Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Ian Howie Adam Imlach |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||29 July 1930 |
|Died: ||3 February 2011 |
|Bio Notes: ||Ian Howie Adam Imlach was born in London on 29 July 1930 and grew up in Durban, South Africa. He moved to Scotland in 1948 to study architecture at the Scott Sutherland School, Aberdeen. After graduating in 1953, he and his wife Ann travelled to Singapore, where he worked in private practice. He was elected ARIBA in 1956, and two years later the couple returned to Scotland, where Imlach took a job in the practice of James Parr before joining the staff of the School of Architecture at Duncan of Jordanstone College, Dundee, where he lectured and tutored for the rest of his working life. |
He was invited to join Stuart Barron as partner in Maclaren Soutar Salmond in the late 1960s. Barron was sole partner at that time. By that stage the practice was too far down to recover, with only Barron in a three storey and basement and attic house. Circumstances soon obliged Imlach to close the practice (in 1972) and resume working from home.
At the date of closure very few of the practice drawings had survived. A card index to them compiled by Soutar during the First World War survives at RCAHMS, but gives no indication of what was built anew, what was altered or which were competition drawings that may not have been successful.
Imlach did sometimes provide designs for other architects when they got commissions which were a bit beyond them, one instance being the Dundee Savings Bank in Albert Square and Meadowside. David Walker remembers dealing with this case in his role as inspector of buildings for the Scottish Development Department: 'The site was occupied by Pilkington's Eastern Club which was sadly built of poor-quality stone and it was impossible to insist on facade retention, although ten years or so later, it might just have been possible to persuade the HBC to do somehting: the list was still not statutory, or early in the process. But the Bank's architect, T Lindsay Gray, still had to get past the Royal Fine Art Commission and for that reason he asked Ian to produce both design and perspective. The RFAC was duly impressed but after that, the Dundee planners got to work on it, rearranging the elements to line up with adjoining buildings. This gave Lindsay Gray the excuse to take the design back into his hands, resulting in the commonplace building we see now'.
Outwith his professional life, Imlach's greatest passion was sailing; on his retirement in 1995, he joined the training crew of the world's largest training vessel, the 'Sedov', and took part in the Tall Ships Race that year. A keen supporter of and fundraiser for the RNLI, he was also an enthusiast for large classic cars. He owned one himself and spent much of his spare time keeping it in repair. David Walker adds: 'he was very tall and great fun to be with'.
Ian Imlach died in Kuala Lumpur on 3 February 2011. His wife Ann had predeceased him in September 2010 and he had moved to Kuala Lumpur to be with his family. He is survived by his daughter and grandchild.
Two reminiscences of Ian Imlach: "Ian was a colleague and friend at the School of Architecture.
He was a very good designer and the building of his which I know best is the house which he designed for his family [11 Victoria Road, West Ferry] and in which they lived happily for so many years.
The house is a very good example of the Modernist Style which emanated from the west coast of the USA in 1950's onwards. I believe that Ian had studied and had been influenced by the works of Richard Neutra and also the Usonian houses of Frank Lloyd Wright....The house shows this influence but is an original work and is an extremely fine example of 'place making' within the context of a relatively open plan. The hearth, fireplace and surrounding built-in seating in the living area is very well considered and widely appreciated by fellow architects, most notably by the visiting distinguished Dutch architect, Herman Hertzberger.
One of Ian's interests was the relationship of a building to its landscape setting, a subject upon which he lectured, and which he had also shown by example in the design of his own house.....His students will also be grateful to Ian for his guidance in the area of detail design, this again, was a subject about which he possessed considerable knowledge and design skill."
"Ian had an intuitive design skill which allowed him to understand student design problems and open the way for fruitful developments in design. I joined the staff in 1968 when Ian was already established as tutor to senior students and I understood that he had worked in the Far East before coming back to Scotland. I believe that he worked for the very progressive firms of Raglan Squire & Partners together with James Cubitt & Partners who I recall were involved in new university work in Malaya and Burma. I am not sure that he worked for architects in Scotland on his return, before teaching. He was a fellow student with Jimmy Paul in Aberdeen School of Architecture.
I recall the local practice which you specify and think that he converted mill buildings into bowling alleys."
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|London, England||Private||1930||Before 1948||Place of birth|
|Durban, South Africa||Private||After 1930||1948||Growing up|
|Aberdeen, Scotland||Private||1948||1953||While studying|
|Singapore||Private/business||1953||1958||In private practice|
|132a, Nethergate, Dundee, Scotland||Business||1960 *|| ||James Parr's office|
|11, Victoria Road, West Ferry, Dundee, Scotland||Business||Before 1970 *||After 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|
|James Reginald Parr||c. 1958|| ||Assistant|| |
|Maclaren Soutar Salmond||Late 1960s||1972||Partner|| |
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|
|1962||Villa, 11 Victoria Road||West Ferry|| ||Dundee||Scotland|| |
|1968||Villa, Roseangle|| || ||Dundee||Scotland||Conversion of ground floor to Dundee Arts Centre|
|1978||Dundee Synagogue|| || ||Dundee||Scotland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|http://www.dhet.org.uk|| ||http://www.dhet.org.uk|| || || |
|RIBA||1970||RIBA Directory 1970|| || || |
|RIBA||1979||Directory of members|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Dundee Courier and Advertiser||5 February 2011|| || ||Death notice|
|RIAS Quarterly||2011||Spring||Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)||p.97: obituary|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Iain Flett, Dundee City Archivist||Email to Yvonne Hillyard|| ||Sent February 2011|
|Information sent to Yvonne Hillyard||Recollections of David M Walker|| ||Sent May 2011|
|School of Architecture, Garthdee, Aberdeen, RGIT: former pupils, 1937-1970||Galletly, James|| || |
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