MacMillan, Andrew

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MacMillan, Andrew

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Andrew MacMillan was born on 11 December 1928 in Maryhill, Glasgow, the son of a railway porter. He was educated at Maryhill Public School and North Kelvinside Secondary School. After leaving school he sat the Glasgow Corporation exam. During his time there he received the impetus to study architecture and he and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1945. There he met Isi Metzstein, and the pair quickly became firm friends. Every Wednesday, what was often referred to as the ‘Isi and Andy’ double act could be found at the King’s Arms on Elmbank Street, discussing architecture, culture and politics.
After seven years with the Corporation he moved to East Kilbride New Town Development Corporation after the Second World War in 1952, He joined the firm of Gillespie Kidd & Coia in 1954, and soon began a close collaboration with Metzstein, who had been in the firm since beginning as an apprentice. The two were to carry out most of the practice’s design work from around 1957 onwards, as Coia approached retirement. Working in a bold and highly original Modernist idiom, they collaborated on a series of notable Roman Catholic churches between that year and 1980, of which St Bride’s in East Kilbride (1963–4) is among the most remarkable. Their masterwork is considered to be St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, completed in 1966, which was to be the first modern building to be awarded Category-A listed status. They were also responsible for a series of important university buildings, including halls of residence at Hull (1963–7), additions to Wadham College, Oxford (1971–7), and Robinson College, Cambridge (1974–80). Although strongly inspired by Le Corbusier, they drew on sources as diverse as Victorian Glasgow, medieval urbanism and abstraction, and Metzstein always emphasised the importance of designing from first principles.
In 1973 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the University of Glasgow and Head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture. Under his guidance the School achieved an international reputation. In 1986 he was Davenport Visiting Professor at Yale University. He also served as Vice President for Education at the RoyalInstitute of British Architects during the period 1980-85. Subsequently was avisiting professor or lecturer in a number of South American instutitions in Mexico, Columbia and chile and as far afeidl as Singapore and Japan. He was instrumental in establishing the new architecture school in Dublin. In later years MacMillan continued his involvement with the RIBA, the RIAS and the Royal Scottish Academy where he was made an Academician in 1990. He was awarded the OBE in 1992. MacMillan and Metzstein received lifetime achievement awards from the RIBA in 2008 and MacMillan received the RIBA's Annie Spink Award for services to architectural education shortly afterwards. From 2002 he chaired the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building Award each year. He collapsed and died during a Doolan Award visit on 16 August 2014. He is survived by his wife Angela McDowell whom he had married in 1955 and his four children and three grandchildren.


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Gillespie, Kidd and Coia (1927-1987)

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Metzstein, Isi Israel (1928-2012)

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