Lifetime Achievement Award for Professor Robin Webster

Professor Robin Webster OBE FRIAS. © Malcolm Cochrane Photography

Professor Robin Webster OBE FRIAS was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual RIAS Awards Dinner this week.

The Award was presented by RIAS President, Willie Watt, who said, “As both practitioner and teacher, Robin Webster was one of the most influential UK architects in the latter half of the 20th Century. The fact the practice that bears his name and is now fronted by his daughter and son-in-law, continues to win awards confirms that his influence endures.”

The citation for Professor Webster was read out at the event:

“Professor Robin Gordon Maclennan Webster was born on 24th December 1939. His father and grandfather were both renowned Glasgow stained glass artists. After schooling at Glasgow Academy and Rugby School, he took an MA at St. John’s College, Cambridge and his Masters in Architecture at The Bartlett, formally qualifying in 1967.

“From 1972 to 1984 Robin was a partner with Robin Spence in Spence and Webster Architects, with offices in Glasgow and London. The practice won fame through winning the international competition for a new (but unbuilt) Parliament building at Westminster. More modest in scale, but also award-winning, was their residential project at Belsize Park Gardens, Camden. In Glasgow they designed the aluminium-clad ward block for Ross Hall Hospital.

 “In 1984, Webster was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Scott Sutherland School, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, a post he was to occupy for the next 20 years. As a university teacher, Robin inspired generations of students, sharing a willingness to experiment and explore, a fondness for the up-to-the-minute and profound respect for context and all that had gone before. Over the same period his practice operated as Robin Webster & Associates with offices in Aberdeen and Glasgow. Notable international competition wins over this period included Manhattan Westside, New York in 1991 and the Engineering Library and Information Centre at the University of Edinburgh in 1997.

“In 2005, following his retiral from the Scott Sutherland School, Webster set up cameronwebster architects with his daughter Miranda and his son-in law Stuart Cameron. Notable projects in this incarnation include the award-winning Printworks, Glasgow and Cape Cove, Argyll.  The practice has established an enviable reputation for its beautifully detailed and subtly reconfigured housing renovations, several of which have won awards.

 “In addition to his work in architecture and academe, Robin Webster has contributed voluntarily to a number of important initiatives and organisations. He was a Commissioner of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland and, closer to home, sat on the Govan and Craigton Community Planning Board. He served as Chair of the North Highlands Renewal Built Environment Advisory Panel, as a Trustee of the Glasgow City Heritage Trust and he continues as Secretary of the Walmer Crescent Association, as a Trustee of the Scottish Stained Glass Symposium and The House for an Art Lover, and was a past Chairman of the Alexander Greek Thomson Society.

 “Robin has contributed to publications on the social value and benefit of good architectural design and to research reports and publications on stone and stone cleaning. He was appointed OBE in 1999 and became a full Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2008.”