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RIAS President Arnie Dunn

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland News – 2007

25 Jan 2007

RIAS President News

Dunn (sic) Roaming

Arnie Dunn has always been ambitious but this drive is tempered by a strong belief in the collaborative imperative of architecture. I first meet Arnie back in the late 1980’s when we both worked at Campbell + Arnott Architects. At that time the practice was tucked away in a quirky little converted mews/stable block in the east end of Edinburgh’s New Town.

We felt part of a burgeoning community, however, whilst I was absorbed in the realization of ‘Saltire Court’, Arnie was engaged in much more modest projects which helped forge the practice’s long-standing reputation in the health care sector. Certainly the vagaries of the market have shown that the latter was a more valuable avenue to pursue than the speculative office sector – but Arnie probably recognised this early on in his career?

I left Campbell + Arnott in 1993 to work in Australia but Arnie remained and is now a director. On my return to Scotland, we would occasionally run into each other at various RIAS events. I was particularly heartened to learn of his participation in the RIBA Visiting Board which recently validated Edinburgh University’s Department of Architecture and produced such an effusive testimonial commending its intellectual endeavour and seamless integration of aesthetic, social, technical and theoretical issues.

Campbell + Arnott’s original directors (Ian Arnott, Douglas Laird, Chris Butler-Cole and Alex Weatherhead) inculcated a strong sense of ‘esprit de corps’ which fostered a productive working environment. Staff moral was galvanized, problems were aired openly, ideas discussed communally and proposals trashed out together. I am confident that this spirit of reciprocity and mutual support will underpin Arnie’s new role as esteemed President of the RIAS.

The profession faces some difficult decisions and the next couple of years will be anything but easy; so I wish Arnie well and look forward to reviewing his stewardship of this arduous new challenge.

Mark Cousins

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