Thomson City

‘Thomson’s City’

“Thomson’s urban sensibilities, persuasively described by John McKean, are not only surprisingly fascinating but also crucially explanatory” Frank Arneil Walker, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts

Winner, American Institute of Architects’ International Book Award, April 1995.

Essay in major publication on Alexander Thomson (1994, paperback 1999)



‘Thomson’s City’ in S. McKinstry and G. Stamp (Eds.) ‘Greek’ Thomson Edinburgh University Press, 1994, Chapter 8,   pp. 96 – 114.

American Institute of Architects’ International Book Award, April 1995.

“A distinguished book [with] many useful and interesting papers…   All in all, ‘Greek’ Thomson is a splendid achievement that will help to reveal Thomson for the towering figure he was.  …   This fascinating, intelligent book should help finally to turn the tide in Thomson’s favour.”

J. S. Curl (in a full page review which reiterates platitudes about Thomson and says little more about the book),  The Architects’ Journal, 24 November 1994, p58

Reviewed in London Review of Books, by Andrew Saint in TLS, (both early 1995) and in various quality newspapers.

“This book offers more than just a long overdue and penetrating insight into Thomson.   By looking in detail at the way in which one great architect worked, the creative process of architecture itself is revealed.  …

Unlike so many books of essays, this one actually coalesces into something greater than the sum of its parts, partly because the story is so gripping.   …  But the book’s freshness  is also because the essays are well chosen and , in most cases, well written.” …

Putting Thomson firmly in his proper place, high in the pantheon of European architects, [is] a task which this book achieves in a compelling and elegant manner.”          

Dan Cruickshank, The Architectural Review, No 1178, April 1995, p97

“Alongside [David Walker, James Macaulay and David Watkin] are less expected studies.  Of these the chapters devoted to the architect’s urbanism, interiors and religious faith seem not only surprisingly fascinating but also crucially explanatory.

Thomson’s urban sensibilities are persuasively described by John McKean: a classically derived addition to the street range – tenement or warehouse – so architecturally appropriate to Glasgow’s non-hierarchical grid plan; his ability to capitalise on the corner – regular right-angled junction or aberrant gushet – sometimes with towering success; and his easy evolution of the more suburban ‘dwelling elements’, the terrace and the villa.  …   …  this splendid book.”

Frank Arneil Walker, Full page review, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, June 1995, p73-4.