Sir Robert Hogg Matthew lived from 1906 to 1975. He was an architect who became a leading member of the modernist movement. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Robert Matthew was born in Edinburgh, the son of the architect John Matthew, who was a business partner of Sir Robert Lorimer. He was trained at the Edinburgh College of Art. He started work with his father's firm, before joining the Department of Health (Scotland) in 1936. Over the next nine years he rose to become their Chief Architect and Planning Officer. In 1946 he was appointed Chief Architect and Planning Officer to the London County Council. He remained there for seven years, managing the post-war reconstruction of Greater London and driving forward buildings like the Royal Festival Hall, built in 1951.
In 1953 Matthew returned to Edinburgh to become the first Professor of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, where he established the new Department of Architecture. He continued to hold this post until 1968 and the Matthew Architecture Gallery is named after him. From 1956, Matthew combined his academic activities with work for his partnership with Stirrat Johnson-Marshall, which was called RMJM. Matthew's work in Edinburgh included, in collaboration with Basil Spence and Alan Reiach, the (now controversial) redevelopment of George Square. RMJM was also responsible for the design of the University of Edinburgh Arts Faculty buildings, now called the David Hume tower, Adam Ferguson building and the William Robertson building.
Robert Matthew became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1955 and served as its President from 1962 to 1964. He was awarded an OBE in 1952 and knighted in 1962. He was later also President of the Commonwealth Association of Architects and the International Union of Architects. He died in 1975. The partnership he started, RMJM, continues in being, and among notable projects it has been involved in are Edinburgh's Royal Commonwealth Pool in 1970; the University of Stirling Campus in 1974; the Falkirk Wheel in 2002: and the Scottish Parliament Building in 2004.