Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alan Reiach & Partners
Born: 1959
Died: 1965
Bio Notes: Alan Reiach was born in London on 2 March 1910, the son of Herbert L Reiach, a wealthy printer, amateur naval architect, and founding editor of Yachting Monthly, and Marie Barbara Federson who was Polish. He was brought up in Acton until the age of six and thereafter by his grandmother and aunt in Mill Hill until he was old enough to be sent to a prep school in Eastbourne. In 1921 his aunt moved to Edinburgh where he attended Edinburgh Academy from 1922 until 1928 when he was articled to Lorimer & Matthew: there he became a close friend of Robert Matthew who was four years older. Whilst with Lorimer & Matthew he studied part-time at Edinburgh College of Art under John Begg, and he continued to study there for two years full-time after completing his apprenticeship in 1932. He obtained his diploma in June 1934, passed the Professional Practice exam the following month, and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December 1934, his proposers being Begg, John Fraser Matthew and Frank Charles Mears. During his final two years of study he won the Soane Medallion, the Tite Prize, the RIBA Silver Medal and an Andrew Grant travelling scholarship. The last of these was deferred a year while he took the postgraduate planning course, but in 1935-6 he visited France, Scandinavia, the USA (where he joined Frank Lloyd Wright for a short period at Taliesin) and the USSR. Like Robert Scott Morton and the slightly older Esmé Gordon he was a superb draughtsman and the sketches from his study tours are treasured by those fortunate enough to have them. On his return he spent about a year in London with Robert Atkinson and George Grey Wornum prior to becoming a research and teaching fellow at Edinburgh College of Art in 1938.

Reiach commenced practice in 1933 from his house in Randolph Place before completing his course at the College, his first commission being a house in Suffolk. In the years 1935 to 1937 it necessarily went into abeyance, but from 1938 he entered competitions with Robert Matthew, winning that for the baths and fire station at Ilkeston in 1938. He was also active in the Saltire Society, publishing a slim but influential volume entitled 'Building Scotland' with Robert Hurd in 1938.

In 1940 Robert Matthew brought Reiach into the Scottish Office as assistant secretary of the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee at the Department of Health. In the same year Reiach married Julie Dittmar, but the marriage did not survive wartime conditions in Scotland. His role at the Scottish Office ended in 1946 when he recommenced practice. With the help of a senior lecturing post at Edinburgh College of Art he managed to re-establish his practice in 1948, forming a single-project partnership with a colleague at the College, Ralph Cowan, to design the new College of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh's King's Buildings site. In parallel he married a second time to Patricia Ann Duncan in 1949 and attracted an exceptionally able staff, George McNab in 1955 and Stuart Renton in 1956. By 1957 Reiach was so busy he had to resign from the College of Art and in the same year he took Renton into partnership, followed by McNab in 1958; and in the latter year John R Oberlander and Leslie D Mitchell joined the staff. Reiach was elevated to FRIBA in early 1959, his proposers being William Hardie Kininmonth, J Holt and Robert Hogg Matthew.

In 1965 Alan Reiach & Partners merged with Eric Hall & Partners to form the still more successful Alan Reiach, Eric Hall & Partners, the partners including Oberlander and Mitchell from 1967 onwards.

Reiach retired in 1975 but remained with the practice as part-time consultant until 1980. Because of the war years, his teaching commitments and the early involvement of partners in his university hospital and school projects, the period in which Reiach's own ability as an architect can be clearly recognised was short: but he was appointed OBE in 1964, served on the Royal Fine Art Commission from 1966 until 1980 and was elected ARSA in 1969. He was elected full academician in 1986, but by that date his elevation owed more to his exceptional skill as draughtsman and watercolourist than to architecture.

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 10(Professor) George Alexander Macnab (misspelt McNab)1955 Partner 
Item 2 of 10James Stuart Renton1956 Partner 
Item 3 of 10(Professor) George Alexander Macnab (misspelt McNab)19571965Partner 
Item 4 of 10Anne Parker (Mrs Finlay)1959c. 1961Junior Assistant(?) 
Item 5 of 10Robert ('Bob') Dawson1959c. 1962  
Item 6 of 10Alan Reiach19591965Partner 
Item 7 of 10Duncan Shearer Bremner19601961Assistant 
Item 8 of 10John ('Jack') Reid Oberlander19631966Associate 
Item 9 of 10Robert ('Bob') Dawson19641965  
Item 10 of 10Kenneth Urquhart McDonaldEarly 1970s Architect 

Buildings and Designs

This 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 241956University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Field StationRoslin Edinburgh  
Item 2 of 241957Belhaven HospitalDunbar East LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 3 of 24After 1958Secondary SchoolAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 4 of 241959Easthouses ChurchDalkeith MidlothianScotlandBegun by Reiach and completed in partnership
Item 5 of 241959Housing scheme fo Messrs Crudens, NewhailesMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 6 of 241959Knox AcademyHaddington East LothianScotlandExtension to 1930s building
Item 7 of 241959Maitland Park Housing schemeMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 8 of 241950s or 1960sEdinburgh Academy, Western Classrooms  EdinburghScotlandLink between Western classrooms and old Mathematics block at NW of forecourt
Item 9 of 241960George Wolfe HouseTorphichen West LothianScotland 
Item 10 of 2419621, 3 Winton Loan  EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 241962Ash HouseGartocharn DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 12 of 241962Festival Centre, Castle Terrace site  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandFurther schemes for Festival Centre
Item 13 of 241962Golspie High SchoolGolspie SutherlandScotland 
Item 14 of 241962Kildrum Parish ChurchCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 15 of 241963City Hospital, flats for resident staff  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 241963Rock CottagesTorphichen West LothianScotlandNB McWilliam gives Reiach & Hall but the practice did not commence until 1965
Item 17 of 241963University of Edinburgh Appleton Tower (First Year Science Building)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 241964Housing development  EdinburghScotlandRedevelopment of temporary housing
Item 19 of 241964Office blockMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 20 of 241964Portobello Old and Windsor Place Parish Church hallPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 241964Silverknowes Golf Club and Sports PavilionSilverknowes EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 241964St Mungo's Church and hallCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 23 of 241965University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Experimental Petrology  EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 241966Challenger LodgeTrinity EdinburghScotlandAdditions


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdpp32, 34 Winton Loan
p165-7 Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh
Item 2 of 2Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p32-3 Kildrum Parish Church