Architect and professor Robin Webster OBE has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland (RIAS) at their annual awards dinner in Edinburgh last week.
Described by RIAS President Willie Watt as “one of the most influential UK architects in the latter half of the 20th century”, Mr Webster has been given the award after a lifetime’s work both as a successful practising architect and a respected academic.
After qualifying as an architect in 1967, Mr Webster partnered with Robin Spence to form their own firm. During their partnership from 1972-1984, the practice completed a number of notable projects, and came to prominence by winning an international competition to design a new parliament building at Westminster – although the design was obviously never built. The practice also won awards for its design of the Belsize Park Gardens residential project in Camden, and closer to home designed a new block for Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow.
In 1984 Mr Webster’s success was recognised when he was appointed Professor of Architecture at Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School, in Aberdeen. Over the next 20 years Mr Webster’s reputation as a professor grew. Mr Watt said: “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.”
During his time at Robert Gordon, Mr Webster’s practice continued to thrive, winning international competitions including for Manhattan Westside in 1991, and the Engineering Library and Information Centre at the University of Edinburgh in 1997.
After retiring from the Scott Sutherland School, in 2005 he set up cameronwebster architects with his daughter Miranda and his son-in-law Stuart Cameron. Continuing the pattern of success of his practices, cameronwebster’s projects include the award-winning Printworks in Glasgow and Cape Cove, Argyll, while also establishing a reputation through award-winning housing renovations.
Mr Webster demonstrated a strong sense of duty to his community through various initiatives and organisations. He was a commissioner of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland and sat on the Govan and Craigton Community Planning Board. He served as chairman of the North Highlands Renewal Built Environment Advisory Panel, as a trustee of the Glasgow City Heritage Trust, continues as trustee of the Scottish Stained Glass Symposium, and is a former chairman of the Alexander Greek Thomson Society.
Mr Webster was appointed OBE in 1999 and became a full Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2008.