The Aberdeen Society of Architects represents some two hundred chartered architects within the City of Aberdeen and the surrounding area. ASA’s main aim is to promote the interests of architects and architecture within this region.
The Aberdeen Society of Architects was established in 1898 as an institute to represent and support them, to promote lectures and educational trips, and further the objectives of the architectural profession as a whole.
ASA’s founding president was James Souttar, who was in the chair from 1898 to 1900; he was followed by Arthur Clyne, formerly of the significant local practice Pirie & Clyne. Clyne retired as president in 1914 with an honorarium of £20, after having served two periods each of five years (1900-04 then 1909-13): by that time, the Society had allied itself to the national architectural bodies in Edinburgh and in London. In those days, representatives from Aberdeen made regular trips south, as they still do today, to put forward the views of architects in the North East.
After a proposal was tabled at the start of the Great War, the ASA discussed and tentatively agreed to the registration of architects, and also to chartered status for the profession: the debate is recorded at length in the chapter’s Annual Reports of the time. By the end of 1916 the chartership was in place and the Aberdeen Society of Architects acquired a second identity as the Aberdeen Chapter of the newly-founded Institute of Scottish Architects – thus the “1916” on the chapter’s crest. Dr William Kelly – an architect and antiquarian who is famously remembered for “Kelly’s Cats”, the cast-iron leopards on Union Bridge – was a fellow of the ASA, and an early president of the national body.
At the same time, the ASA’s remit was altered to take in only the counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine: a new society was established in Inverness to cover that area, which was previously served by the Aberdeen chapter.
Over the years the structure of the profession has changed – the larger private practices of turn-of-the-20th century Aberdeen consisted of relatively few architects, with many apprentices and assistants; after the Second World War, the rebuilding effort and establishment of the Welfare State encouraged many architects to work for the public sector, in Local Authority offices; nowadays, the majority again work in private practice.
The current ASA Council consists of twelve local architects. We encourage local architects with an interest in the Chapter to get in touch.