TALKING ABOUT ADRIAN WELCH AT E-ARCHITECT
Adrian Welch B.Arch (Hons) Dip Arch ARB - Architect, Writer & e-architect Founding Editor
Born in Scotland, Adrian completed his Architecture degree in 1992 at Manchester University in England. His head tutor was architect Ian Simpson, with Alan Dunlop and Stephen Hodder as assistant tutors.
After a year-out working as an architect in Manchester Adrian attended The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, run by Professor Sir Peter Cook, from where he graduated in 1995.
His tutor was the architect and writer Neil Spiller. His Diploma Dissertation was based on the redevelopment of Hulme, a deprived inner-city area in Manchester, which gained a Distinction. His Thesis on Holographic Architecture in the final year – based on an interactive project at Piccadilly Circus in London - also received a Distinction.
Having graduated, Adrian moved to Cambridge in 1995 to work for RMJM Architects on a Cambridge college building.
In 1996 he returned to London having been offered a position at Eva Jiricna Architects. Here Adrian worked on 37 different projects over 2 ½ years, generally at concept design stage, including the 170-bed five-star Hotel Josef in Prague, Czech Republic, the major retail building titled Kuala Lumpur Complex in Malaysia, and the Lavka Bridge, Brno, Czech Republic, designed by Eva Jiricna architect with eminent Structural engineer Matthew Wells.
His RIBA Part 3 course (taken at The Bartlett in 1997) Case Study was based on the redevelopment of the prestigious No.1 Sloane Street address to form a jewellery shop for England’s oldest jewellers, Boodle & Dunthorne, in Knightsbridge, West London.
Adrian married Isabelle Lomholt, daughter of Danish film-maker and artist Niels Lomholt, who had also trained to be an architect, in 1997. Adrian gained a position at Sir Terence Conran’s architecture practice as Site Architect for the Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh. This is a major retail-led development in Leith that hosts the FRY Britannia, formerly belonging to HM The Queen. The family moved to Edinburgh in early 1999.
Adrian’s interest in finding out more about the city’s architecture led him to start a website – Edinburgh Architecture. This was born out of the realisation that there was no accessible record of recent buildings in the capital since a guidebook that was rather out-of-date. The website contained photographs and text by Adrian to form a useful online guide to contemporary Edinburgh architecture.
It was at this point that Adrian also started to write for various magazines. Writing and illustration had been aspects of Adrian’s childhood with features as a teenager used in various magazines, guides and journals.
Later Adrian worked for Richard Murphy Architects for over two years from the start of 2000 to the end of 2001. He took both the Fruitmarket Gallery redevelopment & lighting on site – in collaboration with celebrated artist Peter Fink, and Oloroso – a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh New Town for Scotland’s Chef of the Year.
He designed and curated the RIAS 2000 Festival Exhibition with filmmaker Murray Grigor (who has produced many films with Sean Connery and is the director of films about architects such as John Lautner).
From 2002 Adrian worked for RMJM as a Project Architect on the Scottish Parliament designed by Enric Miralles. This was one of the highlights of Adrian’s career, working on a highly crafted building alongside the Spanish architects EMBT. He attended the Stirling Prize awards where the building won the coveted award, having spent the day doing an architectural tour of the building in parallel with Benedetta Tagliabue.
His role increased over time from responsibility for the Interiors of the MSP Foyer, Canongate and Towers 3 & 4 to overseeing all the architectural metalwork in the building and being responsible for the Debating Chamber interior.
Adrian was responsible for sitewide ‘architectural metalwork’, which included: the louvred light fingers for the Debating Chamber; sycamore lath double-glazed stair balustrading; the dynamic stair to the Debating Chamber.
These roles were onerous but formed a major experience. Adrian Welch also spent two months at this time working for RMJM in Hong Kong on projects in China and India.
By 2002 the website was becoming popular and the point of reference for people interested in Edinburgh Architecture. News and events pages had been added and hundreds of pages on individual buildings and architects.
It was only natural one would follow for Scotland’s other major city: the Glasgow Architecture website was launched. Articles by Adrian appeared in publications such as The List, Building Design, Business AM, The Drouth Literary magazine and Prospect magazine. Also numerous articles had appeared in the Press re the websites per se or topics contained on their news pages.
Adrian Welch joined Michael Laird Architects in 2005 as a Senior Architect focused on front-end design of residential property. He worked as Project Architect on East Fettes Avenue comprising of 84 housing units in Inverleith, Edinburgh. Adrian was also responsible for PR within the practice.
Adrian Welch joined Lewis & Hickey Architects in 2013 as a Senior Architect. He worked as Project Architect for Beech Court (277 beds, 10,000 sqm) at the University of Stirling, Scotland, completed on time and on budget in Summer 2014. He then worked as Project Architect for Juniper Court (252 beds, 8,600 sqm) at the Stirling University, again completed on time and on budget in Summer 2015:
photo © Keith Hunter Photography
He worked on many other projects for L&H - notably the innovative Charles Stewart House redevelopment for Edinburgh University (5 storeys) which formed a new ‘backpack’ extension in the heart of the World Heritage Site.
Adrian worked as Project Architect on the prestigious renewal of the Pathfoot Building at the University of Stirling, Scotland, a Category A listed building originally designed by architect John Richards of Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM).
From November 2016 to February 2018 Adrian worked as a Senior Architect for Pace, Kuwait, notably as Project Architect on the Hamala Mixed Use Development, Bahrain – new town centre on a 109,000sqn site, Project Architect on the 58,000sqm Mazaya Downtown, Kuwait City – a pair of skyscrapers, 14 and a 32 storeys high; and on Wafra Towers, Bahrain Bay, Bahrain, a pair of towers, 32 and a 35 storeys high designed by Wiel Arets Architects.
Since March 2018 Adrian has relocated to work for GAJ in Dubai as a Senior Architect.