Leading Scottish architect Gareth Hoskins dies aged 48

Architect Gareth Hoskins in Edinburgh's City Chambers in December 2015, ahead of a planning committee decision on whether to approve plans to convert the former Royal High School into a five-star hotel. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Architect Gareth Hoskins in Edinburgh's City Chambers in December 2015, ahead of a planning committee decision on whether to approve plans to convert the former Royal High School into a five-star hotel. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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TRIBUTES have flooded in to one of Scotland’s leading architects of modern times after he died of a heart attack at the age of just 48.

Gareth Hoskins, who had been involved in some of the nation’s leading cultural projects, was said to have taken ill during a fencing match in Edinburgh on 3 January. His practice, Hoskins Architects, confirmed that, despite receiving the “best care possible,” he had passed away at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Saturday.

The Glasgow-based architect was working on the latest phase of a long-term overhaul of the National Museum of Scotland and an extension of the Scottish National Gallery complex in Edinburgh.

The Glasgow School of Art graduate, who set up his practice in 1998, has passed away weeks after councillors rejected his most controversial project, which would have seen the former Royal High School in Edinburgh become a luxury hotel.

READ MORE: Battle lines drawn over Royal High School plans

His firm, which had expanded to open a Berlin office, was also behind the designs of the first permanent headquarters of the National Theatre of Scotland, which is due to open in Glasgow’s canal district this summer, as well as a long-awaited overhaul of Aberdeen Art Gallery. Other projects included the Mareel arts centre in Shetland and a new visitor centre at Culloden battlefield for the National Trust for Scotland.

Gareth’s international reputation was growing steadily and he was a tremendous ambassador for Scottish architecture

Willie Watt, RIAS

Chris Coleman-Smith, a co-director of Hoskins Architects, said: “Everyone at Hoskins Architects has lost an exceptional architect, a visionary and a gifted leader, but above all a very good friend.”

Mr Hoskins was named UK Young Architect of the Year in 2000, won the UK Architect of the Year prize in 2006 and was named Scottish Architect of the Year in 2009. He was awarded an OBE for services to architecture in 2010 and won the Doolan Prize, for Scotland’s best building, in 2011 for his national museum revamp.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of Gareth Hoskins, one of Scotland’s finest architects. My thoughts with his family.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Gareth was an outstanding architect. His death at such a young age is a shock to the profession and a great loss for our country.”

Willie Watt, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: “Gareth’s international reputation was growing steadily and he was a tremendous ambassador for Scottish architecture. As a practitioner and teacher, he excelled.”

Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, said: “Gareth was one of the most accomplished architects of his generation in the UK. He was an indefatigable, energetic force.”

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