Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Alistair Robertson Whitelaw (or Alexander Robertson Whitelaw) |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||7 November 1913 |
|Died: ||2 September 1994 |
|Bio Notes: ||Alistair (or Alexander) Robertson Whitelaw was born on 7 November 1913 in Neilston, Renfrewshire, the son of Alexander Robertson Ferguson Whitelaw, water superintendent, and his wife Ellen Jane Winder. He was articled to John Baird and James Thomson in Glasgow from 1929, at the same time taking classes at Glasgow High School in preparation for admission to the certificate course at the School of Art. He embarked on the certificate course in 1931. In 1933 he completed his articles and became a junior assistant with Baird & Thomson in which post he remained until 1936. In that same year he was awarded the certificate at the School of Art. |
Whitelaw spent a number of months as a junior assistant in the Glasgow Housing Department but moved to a post as assistant with the practice of Keppie & Henderson later in 1936 where he remained until the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1939-40 he worked as clerk of works with the War Office Valuer, no2, working in the Glasgow area. In 1940 he enlisted and served in the army in South Africa, Egypt, Italy and Germany but spent a period of time in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. After demobilisation in 1946, he re-joined Keppie & Henderson. He sat the qualifying exams in 1945 and 1946 and was elected ARIBA in 1947, his proposers being Andrew Graham Henderson, William James Smith and Thomas Johnston Beveridge.
From 1947-49 he was senior assistant in the practice of Keppie & Henderson but at the latter date moved to the Corporation of Glasgow as senior assistant architect in the new schools' section. In 1954, in collaboration with Archibald McIntosh Doak won the competition for the Children's Church at Sighthill, Edinburgh, and as neither had any track record in independent practice they formed the partnership of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw with David Ross of Aberdeen. He took no very active part in it, all the design work being carried out by Doak and Whitelaw. Initially the firm of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw was based in Glasgow, while Ross continued to run his own practice in Aberdeen, passing some commissions to the Glasgow office. Other church commissions quickly followed, and in 1959 Whitelaw too moved to Aberdeen to open a branch office in premises shared with J A O Allan, Ross & Allan at 13 Bon Accord Square. The practice's one major building was Anniesland College of Further Education, built in 1962-64.
Whitelaw died in Aberdeen on 2 September 1994, aged eighty. He was survived by his wife May Kennan Brown, who died c.2004, and his only child, Moira. In his death certificate there is a note to say that he was originally Alexander but changed to Alistair.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Glasgow, Scotland||Business|| || || |
|2, Westholme Crescent North, Aberdeen, Scotland||Private|| ||1994|| |
|15, Cross Lees Drive, Thornliebank, Renfrewshire, Scotland||Private(?)||1950 *||After 1954||Or 18 acc to RIAS records|
|39, Mansefield Road, Clarkston, Renfrewshire, Scotland|| ||1954 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|RIBA||1950||The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||2 April 1954|| || ||p585|
|RIAS Newsletter||February 1993|| || ||Obituary of Archibald M Doak|
|RIAS Newsletter||May 1995||v6, no4|| ||Death notice|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|H M Register House||Death Register|| || |
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Information from Chris Doak, son of Archibald McIntosh Doak|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A no9095 (Combined Box 222); F no6305 (Combined Box 131)|