There was a fantastic turn-out for the 1986 Postgraduate Architecture Reunion last month with 18 alumni getting together for a weekend of anecdotes, memories and a general catch up after all those years. Organiser Peter Whitehead recounts their 26th anniversary reunion...
As architectural students at Edinburgh University in the early 1980’s, meeting a deadline was never one of our virtues and so it was that the 25th anniversary of the completion of our 5 years study sailed by unrecognised. But we usually get there in the end, and so in June this year, we celebrated our 26th anniversary with the first official reunion of our year group since our departure in 1986.
We would be fooling ourselves to say that we had not changed at all, but beneath the thinning, greying hair we all seemed to be the same people at heart.
Some had travelled from as far afield as Malaysia and California, and some had not set foot in Edinburgh since 1986. For all of us, this was the first time we had seen the majority of our colleagues for 26 years.
The weekend comprised a series of gatherings - starting at the house of one of our number who had stayed on in Edinburgh (thanks Helen and Malcolm for the generous hospitality!), and then a special treat - a return to the Chambers Street building where we had all spent so many days - and nights - pouring over the drawing board, battling with our own architectural triumphs and disasters, creations and carbunkles - all part of the learning experience. We were very fortunate that Fiona McLachlan was so generous with her time in showing us around and despite the inevitable changes over the years the essence of the place was very much as we had remembered it.
From there to our faculty ‘local’ - Bannermans Bar in Cowgate - where we had spent many an evening, nursing bruised egos after a severe roasting from some visiting architect critic. Fortunately we could relax a bit more this time around. A long and lively meal at a nearby restaurant rounded off a great day.
In the morning we met up again, to visit a new building together - and not just any building. One of our number, Roddy Langmuir, had been the principal architect behind the John Hope Gateway building at the Botanical Gardens as part of his role with Edward Cullinan Architects, so we were able to have a good look around, including admiring the boiler room and a visit onto the roof to see the energy generating wind turbine and photo voltaic (PV) panels. We also marvelled at the ingenuity of the seagulls who, apparently, pick up pebbles from the roof and drop them on the PV panels, smashing them (the panels that is, not the pebbles) in the process. Our tutors never taught us how to deal with that, although all is now resolved with some low-tech chicken wire!
A quick lunch in the café and we departed on our separate journeys home, collectively resolved to meet up again for our 30 year reunion in 2016, although given our track record perhaps 31 years is more realistic!
Many thanks to Natalie Fergusson and Mariana West from the Alumni Department who were so helpful and willing to help in whatever way we wanted. Whether it’s the 30th or 31st year, we shall definitely be meeting again soon.
Are you considering organising a reunion? Lots of help is available from Alumni Engagement. Please contact us for more information.