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Lyndsey Hubbard catches up with Jonathan Speirs, followinghis Lifetime Achievement Award.


The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) presented Jonathan Speirs from Speirs + Major with its Lifetime Achievement Award – the highest accolade within Scottish architecture. The event took place at a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament in October, where Jonathan had been invited to receive a Fellowship of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. Quite unexpectedly, it was also announced that he would receive the RIAS’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long career during which he has promoted the highest standards of professional excellence in architecture and light and acted as an ambassador for Scottish design and architecture throughout the world. Jonathan, a chartered architect and lifelong member of the RIAS, is the fifth recipient of the Incorporation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


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Jonathan’s interest in lighting began at 12 years old when he discovered the school theatre, after which a keen interest in lighting rock concerts emerged. He then decided to study architecture. ‘Whilst studying architecture I was always interested in the integration of the lighting idea into the design, and this led to a chance meeting with Andre Tammes in Edinburgh who ran a small design and supply operation,’ explains Jonathan. This meeting gestated into a working partnership with the setting up of Lighting Design Partnership in 1984 – the UK’s first uniquely fee paid lighting design consultancy. ‘Whilst there, I had the opportunity to design and direct many projects within the UK as well as internationally including the Sheraton Oslofjord in Norway, my first international project, Embankment Place by Farrell and the Savoy Hotel on the Thames, Bercy 2,


Paris with Renzo Piano and Chrighton and Knoll International’s HQ in the Citicorp Building in New York. I left in 1992 to set up Jonathan Speirs and Associates (JSA) in Edinburgh. A year later I was able to re-new my working relationship with Mark Major, with whom I worked at LDP, when setting up the London studio. Our goal was very simple – provide great and inspiring creative design and a service that clients wanted.’ In 1994 Jonathan and Mark formalised their working relationship by renaming the London studio Speirs and Major (SaM). In 2003 they merged the Edinburgh studio of JSA and London studio of SaM into one company called Speirs and Major Associates. ‘By this time we had become firmly established both nationally and internationally; our portfolio and experience having grown to well over 45 countries. The diversity of our design


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