Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Fraser Lawrie
Born: 12 May 1900
Died: 8 September 1985
Bio Notes: Alexander Fraser Lawrie was born on 12 May 1900. His parents had moved to South Africa but he was sent to school in Scotland. He was in England when the First World War broke out and from September 1915 studied at Aberdeen School of Architecture, Robert Gordon's Technical College. In June 1917 he was articled to Jenkins & Marr whilst continuing to attend evening classes at the School of Architecture.

He seems to have enlisted aged 17 and joined the Gordon Highlanders but did not see active service until June 1918 when he was posted to France. He was in France when the armistice was signed. He was demobilised in March 1920 and was keen to continue in the army for a further seven years but was encouraged by his parents to qualify as an architect or engineer.

In September 1922 he returned as a full-time day student to Aberdeen School of Architecture and was admitted ARIBA through the war exemption scheme on 3 March 1924, his proposers being John Alexander Ogg Allan, Robert Gordon Wilson junior and John Wilson Walker. By this time he was qualified both as an architect and as a structural engineer. Later that same year, 1924, he moved to Transvaal, South Africa to take up a post in the Public Works Department. He remained in South Africa, (with a short interlude in Malaya) and had built his own house at 247 Loveday Street, Muckleneuk, Pretoria by 1929, which was to become his best-known work; his daughter Elisabeth Humphreys described the house as 'almost a monument to Frank Lloyd Wright, whom he much admired'.

Lawrie must have remained as a volunteer in peace-time or joined up in the Second World War as he had risen to the rank of Colonel by the time of his death on 8 September 1985 in Johannesburg. His last two years were spent living at the Pretoria Club, 12 Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria.

Lawrie's later career is detailed in 'Artefacts' (

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Pretoria Club/123, Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria, South AfricaPrivate Before 1985 
Item 2 of 538, Mount Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate1923 *  
Item 3 of 519, Derby Road, Bertrams, Transvaal, South AfricaPrivate1923 *  
Item 4 of 5Public Works Department, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Transvaal, South AfricaBusinessLate 1923 *  
Item 5 of 5247, Loveday Street, Muckleneuk, Pretoria, South AfricaPrivate1929 *After 1970 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Jenkins & MarrJune 1917June 1922ApprenticeWith the exception of war servie, June 1918 to March 1920
Item 2 of 2Pretoria Public Works Department1923 * Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Alexander Ogg Allan3 March 1924For Associateship
Item 2 of 3John Wilson Walker3 March 1924For Associateship
Item 3 of 3Robert Gordon Wilson (junior)3 March 1924For Associateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of Website of artefacts, for the recording of South African buildingsInformation also courtesy of Frank Gaylard (sent May 2015)

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no3756 (microfilm reel 28) (including letter from his daughter Elisabeth Humphreys, 16 September 1985, announcing his death)