Scots architect Andy MacMillan dies at 85

LEADING SCOTS architect Andy MacMillan has died at the age of 85 after taking ill during the judging of a major industry award.

Prof Andy MacMillan. Picture: Contributed

Tributes have poured in to the artist, ho has been described as a “maverick” and credited with turning Glasgow’s Mackintosh School of Architecture in to a “world class school”.

Mr Macmillan, who remained a vice president at the Glasgow School of Art - where he studied - until his death, collapsed while judging the Doolan Prize for Scottish architecture on Friday and died the following day of a cerebral haemorrhage.

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Head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture between 1973 and 1994, Mr MacMillan made his name at the modernist practice Gillespie Kidd & Coia which he joined in 1954 from the East Kilbride Development Corporation and within two years, with Isi Mtezstein, gained creative control of the practice.

Mr MacMillan and partner Mr Metzstein, who died two years ago, pair were best know for their work on St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross, as well as a number of other church projects across the country, where they became known for their modernist style.

Clare Wright, of Wright & Wright, led the tributes to the architect. She told industry magazine BD: “Andy was a maverick who combined a sharp intellect with a visceral response to architecture.

“His charisma, largesse, generosity and sometimes bawdy humour swept others along in his zest for life.

“His architectural work in the Isi and Andy partnership of Gillespie Kidd and Coia was of international importance but probably his greater contribution was to architectural education. He turned the Mac into a world-class school of architecture which taught how to ‘draw’ and how to build beautifully as well as the importance of the social values and symbolism of architecture.

“His influence is a lasting architectural legacy throughout the world.”

RIAS president Iain Connelly, another of the Doolan Prize judges, said: “Andy was a great architect, an educator of international renown and one of the finest human beings it has been my privilege to know.

“His influence on generations of students at the Mackintosh School of Architecture and in the many other institutions where he taught, was immense. Andy’s contribution to Scotland was among the most significant of any architect in the post World War II era.

“He will be remembered as someone who lived life to the full, who inspired all those he taught and all those who encountered him, as an individual of enormous talent, tremendous enthusiasm and irrepressible fun. Andy’s legacy is the hugely improved built environment of Scotland wrought by his own hand and those of successive generations of his students. He will forever be missed.”

In 2008, Mr MacMillan was also awarded the RIAS Lifetime Achievement Award and the RIBA Annie Spink Prize for Education, both of which he picked up alongside Mr Metzstein.

He was also recognised with an OBE in 1992.

In 2007, Gillespie Kidd and Coia was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art, expressed the feelings of the whole GSA community on hearing the sad news that Andy MacMillan had passed away:

“We were saddened to hear the news that Andy MacMillan had passed away. Andy’s association with the GSA spanned more than seven decades from student to Head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture and latterly as Emeritus Professor. He was one of the greats of post-war British architecture and his legacy is visible not only in his buildings but in the lives and work of generations of architects whom he taught, challenged and enthused. He was a generous, inspirational man and everyone who met him came away better for having done so. We will miss him greatly and our thoughts are with Angela and the family at this very sad time.