Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall (RMJM)
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1956
Ended: 1961
Bio Notes: Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall (RMJM) was formed in 1956 when Robert Hogg Matthew took Stirrat Johnson-Marshall into partnership. At this time there were 14 members of staff in the Edinburgh office, including Margaret Little, James Dunbar-Nasmith, Ron Thurgarland, Margaret Brown and Graham Law.

During the late 1950s, RMJM experienced a period of increasingly rapid expansion. In its early years, Matthew’s practice was dependent on an eclectic range of competitions and small jobs, such as an experimental energy-saving house at Gogarbank, near Edinburgh. A few jobs were also inherited from Lorimer & Matthew, such as the design for a commemorative panel for the Society of Friends of Dunblane Cathedral. Many of Matthew’s designs in the 1950s were influenced by his conception of vernacular-inspired Modernism rooted strongly in the use of ‘Scottish’ materials, most notably stone. Turnhouse Airport, which won the Edinburgh Architectural Association’s Centenary Bronze Award for art and architecture in May of 1957, was a particularly good example of how Matthew incorporated the Scottish vernacular into the Modern Movement. Other projects in the ‘vernacular’ strain were a rubble and pantile Burtons high street branch shop in the Borders; Lochay, Lubreoch and Cashlie power stations in the Scottish Highlands; Crombie Hall at Aberdeen University; and Queen’s College Dundee.

However, by 1955, Matthew’s practice was increasingly dealing with a whole array of major commissions for the design of large building complexes, for example at Ninewells Hospital, and although vernacular projects still continued to be predominant during the late 1950s, it soon became clear that Matthew’s crusade for a Scottish Modernism was no longer feasible. Instead, the practice began to adopt an increasingly cosmopolitan orientation to projects and design.

It was because of this change in orientation that Matthew undertook a major restructuring of his private practice in late 1955. This decision came in the wake of an opportunity to design New Zealand House – the controversial building that, as the first free-standing ‘skyscraper’ in the ceremonial district of central London, was to become the most important individual project of his private practice. Rather than setting up a new organisation in London, Matthew decided to set up a London office which would be overseen by a London-based partner, Stirrat Johnson-Marshall, who had recommended him for the New Zealand House appointment and shared his fundamental architectural and ethical values characterised by a socially rooted, collaborative approach to architecture as a public service. The new office was set up at 24 Park Square East.

In the years to come, the workload of RMJM would be closely attuned to the increasing boom in public sector construction with projects including schools (in Scotland and England), community facilities such as the Royal Commonwealth Pool, hospitals (Ninewells, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Dundee), new universities (Stirling, York, Bath and Coleraine), and housing and regeneration. Reflecting wider architectural trends in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many of these projects rejected the former humanistic vernacular orientation in favour of urban renewal and large-scale redevelopment projects, often incorporating multi-storey design solutions. This shift is apparent in the scheme of 18-storey towers and four- and three-storey terraces for Area B of Hutchesontown/Gorbals Redevelopment Area (1958-64); the controversial George Square redevelopment incorporating RMJM’s 12-storey David Hume Arts Tower (opened 1963); or the abortive scheme for a 17-storey block for the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary redevelopment.

In the 1960s Tom Spaven, John Richards, Kenneth Graham, Chris Carter, Vernon Lee and Alan Whiteman were all taken into partnership, the practice title changing to Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners in 1961. (See separate entry for subsequent practice history.)

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 48, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1950s  
Item 2 of 424, Park Square East, London, EnglandBusiness1956 *  
Item 3 of 4Alva Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1957 *  
Item 4 of 431, Regent Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1960 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.


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 34Anthony (Tony) Pritchard  Associate 
Item 2 of 34Rachel Wilson1950s ArchitectHousing specialist
Item 3 of 34(Professor Sir) James Duncan Dunbar-Nasmith1956Early 1957Architect 
Item 4 of 34Graham Couper Law1956Early 1957Architect 
Item 5 of 34Margaret Brown (Mrs Richards)1956After 1959ArchitectPart-time from 1958 onwards
Item 6 of 34James Richard Latimer1956c. 1959(?)Architect 
Item 7 of 34Thomas ('Tom') Riddell Spaven19561961Senior Assistant(?) 
Item 8 of 34Robert Hogg Matthew19561961Partner 
Item 9 of 34Stirrat Andrew William Johnson-Marshall19561961Partner 
Item 10 of 34Peter Arthur NewnhamBefore 19561961Architect 
Item 11 of 34Peter Collymore1957 * Architect 
Item 12 of 34Harold Alan Wightman19571961Architect 
Item 13 of 34Ken FeakesApril 1957 ArchitectLondon office
Item 14 of 34Gaston GottierAugust 1957 Architect 
Item 15 of 34Emily Lind Maclennan (Mrs Linda Westwater)August 1957After 1959Architect 
Item 16 of 34John Lamb PatersonOctober 19571961Architect 
Item 17 of 34Michael John Boucicault de Suffield Calthrop1958October 1959AssistantResearch assistant
Item 18 of 34Kenneth Edward GrahamMay 19581961Architect 
Item 19 of 34Albert Ferdinand Donal CrawleyBefore 19581961Architect 
Item 20 of 34William ('Bill') David Campbellc. 1958c. 196OAssistant 
Item 21 of 34Stewart Charles Clark19591961Architect 
Item 22 of 34Robert Jestyn Gwent Forestier-Walker19591961 Edinburgh office
Item 23 of 34Ian Marshall Torrance Samuel 19591961ArchitectArchitect/planner
Item 24 of 34Graham Dickson1959 or 19601961Architect 
Item 25 of 34John ('Ian') Emslie ArnottLate 1950s1961Architect 
Item 26 of 34Andrew Dunsire1960s Architect 
Item 27 of 34Jan-Krzysztof (Krys) Buczynski19601962Architect 
Item 28 of 34Euan Kidston Colam1 April 19601961Architect 
Item 29 of 34George DuncanBefore 19601961 Member of planning team.
Item 30 of 34David Smith SturrockBefore 19601961Architect 
Item 31 of 34James Carr Haggartc. 1960 ArchitectPrecise role in the practice not yet known.
Item 32 of 34Prabhat Lakshaman (Lakshamanrao) Kaikini19621964Architect 
Item 33 of 34Archibald James Campbell Clarkc. 1965c. 1966AssistantBetween parts of his course
Item 34 of 34Michael ('Mick') Alexander Haig Duncan1970s1990sArchitect 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


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 271857University of Aberdeen, Masterplan  AberdeenScotland 
Item 2 of 271950sCumnock Redevelopment planCumnock AyrshireScotlandRedevelopment plan
Item 3 of 271956Cashlie Hydro-Electric Power StationGlen Lochay PerthshireScotlandGenerating station - begun by Matthew before partnership, continued by RMJM & Partners after 1961
Item 4 of 271956Edinburgh Royal Infirmary  EdinburghScotlandPhase I - redevelopment (begun prior to partnership, continued by RMJM & Partners after 1961)
Item 5 of 271956Firrhill Secondary SchoolFirrhill EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 271956Kincardine Power StationKincardine-on-Forth FifeScotland 
Item 7 of 271956Lochay (Killin) Power StationGlen Lochay PerthshireScotlandBegun before partnership was formed
Item 8 of 271956Lubreoch Power StationInnerwick, Glen Lyon PerthshireScotlandGenerating station - begun before partnership was formed
Item 9 of 271956Millbuies HouseGogarbank EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 271956New Zealand House  LondonEnglandBegun prior to this practice title and completed under subsequent one
Item 11 of 271956Ninewells Hospital and Medical School  DundeeScotlandBegun prior to partnership, continued under subsequent practice title
Item 12 of 27c. 1956Multi-storey flats, Spey Street  EdinburghScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 13 of 271957Barshare Housing and comprehensive town planCumnock and Holmhead Burgh AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 271957Queen's College  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 271957St John's Boarding School  SingaporeSingaporeContinued under subsequent practice title
Item 16 of 27November 1957(?)Leith Fort HousingLeith EdinburghScotland2nd prize.
Item 17 of 2719588 George Square  EdinburghScotlandWith Robert Matthew and Linda Westwater
Item 18 of 271958Botany and Zoology Department, University of St Andrew's, Queen's College  Dundee, AngusScotland 
Item 19 of 271958Hutchesontown / Gorbals Area B multi-storey flats and housing  GlasgowScotlandActed as design consultant for development of scheme (continued under subsequent practice title)
Item 20 of 271958University of Dundee, The Tower  DundeeScotland 
Item 21 of 271959Churchill College, Cambridge UniversityCambridge CambridgeshireEngland 
Item 22 of 271960Commonwealth Institute  LondonEnglandLondon office commission; continued under subsequent practice title
Item 23 of 271960University of Edinburgh, David Hume Tower (Arts Building) and redevelopment of George Square  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandContinued under subsequent practice title
Item 24 of 27c. 1960University of Aberdeen, Johnston Hall of Residence  AberdeenScotland 
Item 25 of 271964Housing, Richmond TerraceCumnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 26 of 271970sNewbattle AbbeyNewbattle MidlothianScotlandAlterations for College
Item 27 of 271970sNinewells Hospital and Medical School  DundeeScotlandPharmacy

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp16 George Square redevelopment - Arts Tower
p17 p17-18, p29, p180-1 Queen's College, Dundee
p18-19, p157, p170 Kincardine Power Station
p25 Midlothian County Buildings
p28
p165-7 University of Edinburgh George Square Redevelopment
Item 2 of 6Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishing 
Item 3 of 6Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp169, p228, p368 Hutchesontown, Area B
Item 4 of 6RCAHMS1992Dundee on Record RCAHMSUniversity of Dundee, The Tower - p56
Item 5 of 6RCAHMS1999Homebuilders: Mactaggart & Mickel and the Scottish housebuilding industry RCAHMSp 86, 224, 232, 234, 241, 252
Item 6 of 6Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p7, p10
p92-5 Ninewells Hospital