Obit­u­ary: Ian Camp­bell

Ian Camp­bell, the Oban ar­chi­tect who was also known as the Bird­man of Oban, had died at the age of 79.

The Oban Times - - Births, Marriages & Deaths - Don­ald Camp­bell

IAN was born in Glenelg, at his grand­mother’s house. He at­tended Glenelg Pri­mary School and Mal­laig High School, and com­pleted his ed­u­ca­tion at Plock­ton High.

As a young man, he had de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in fash­ion, and he took up an ap­pren­tice­ship with Ma­teusz Zajac, a Pol­ish tai­lor who had es­caped from East­ern Europe and set up busi­ness in In­ver­ness. Zajac recog­nised that Ian could do more with his life than ‘sew on but­tons’, and en­cour­aged him to be­come an ar­chi­tect.

Ian took his ad­vice and found a job in the draw­ing of­fice of In­ver­ness County Coun­cil while study­ing at night school. He passed into Robert Gor­don’s Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, Aberdeen, and com­pleted the sev­enyear ar­chi­tec­ture course in five.

In 1962, his fi­nal year, he won the medal of the Aberdeen So­ci­ety of Ar­chi­tects to­gether with a bur­sary for a year’s study in Amer­ica at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in St Louis. There, in 1963, he took a mas­ter's de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture and ur­ban de­sign.

Ian was ex­cited by con­tem­po­rary de­vel­op­ments in Amer­i­can ar­chi­tec­ture, and, fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion, he worked for two years in Santa Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia.

Re­turn­ing to Bri­tain, he took a job with Fred­er­ick Gib­berd, the con­sul­tant ar­chi­tect plan­ner for the Harlow New Town De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, which com­mis­sioned some of Bri­tain’s most distin­guished mod­ernist ar­chi­tects to de­sign its pub­lic build­ings.

But the north called and, af­ter two years, he re­turned to Scot­land. Ini­tially, he planned to set up his own prac­tice in Let­ter­fearn, but was en­cour­aged to take up a post with W G Cr­erar of Oban, be­com­ing a part­ner in due course, where he re­mained for the rest of his ca­reer.

Ian made a con­sid­er­able im­pact on the built en­vi­ron­ment of the High­lands and Is­lands. Among other things, he worked on ho­tels on Mull, Gigha, In­ver­ness, Skye, Ul­lapool and Barra (which won a Europa Nos­tra award, the EU prize for cul­tural her­itage); an oil ter­mi­nal for Shell/ BP on Is­lay; fac­to­ries for Caith­ness Glass in Caith­ness and for the High­lands and Is­lands De­vel­op­ment Board in Camp­bel­town; the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Marine Science in Dun­staffnage; and pri­vate and so­cial hous­ing through­out the High­lands.

The project of which he was per­haps most proud was Our Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Stornoway, and for some years he was the ar­chi­tect for Catholic prop­er­ties in the Outer He­brides.

Ian was a quiet and re­served man, but had a wide range of friends. Among th­ese was his next door neigh­bour, who had for many years fed the swans in Oban Bay. On his re­tire­ment, Ian be­came her ap­pren­tice and, fol­low­ing her death, he took up the role – from which he ac­quired the so­bri­quet ‘the Bird­man of Oban’ – and even opened a bank ac­count in the name of the swans.

Ian his sur­vived by his broth­ers Don­ald and Eric, who live in Let­ter­fearn, and his sis­ters Fiona and Jane, who live in Van­cou­ver.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.