Scottish architect in the department of the Dublin City Architect, HORACE O'ROURKE , during the 1930s. Robert Sorley Lawrie, who was probably a son of Robert Lawrie, of 12 Claremont Street, Aberdeen, studied architecture at Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen, from September 1919 until June 1921 and was a pupil of George Bennett Mitchell in Aberdeen until September 1924. He then returned to Robert Gordon's College for the post-diploma course, which he completed in June 1925; the following month he sat the special examination in professional practice.
In June 1929 Lawrie and HERBERT GEORGE SIMMS were appointed assistant architects to the Dublin City Commissioners at a starting salaries of £280 rising by £15 increments to £400. Under O'Rourke, he was 'responsible for the major share of the work' of converting Charlemont House into the Municipal Gallery in 1933. He designed the Inchicore public library on Emmet Road in 1937 and was probably also responsible for the three other very similar libraries at Ringsend, Drumcondra and Phibsborough which were erected the same year. According to the street directories he was still living in Dublin in 1945 but had left by 1947. He returned to Scotland to take up the appointment of County Architect for Fife. He was still in this post in 1965 but retired soon afterwards. He died in 1977, survived by his wife, Annie Dempster McDowall, whom he had married in Aberdeen in 1933.
RIBA: elected associate, 30 November 1925, having been proposed by John Alexander Ogg Allan, George Watt and John Wilson Walker.
Addresses: Home: 12 Claremont Street, Aberdeen, 1925; 24 Old Finglas Road, Dublin, <=1937->=1945.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the Dictionary of Scottish Architects, http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk (last visited, Mar 2020) and from the records of the RIBA, kindly supplied by Shane O'Toole, November 2003. Lawrie appears in the group photograph of the Dublin Corporation Lane Bequest Claim Committee in the unpaginated booklet Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and Civic Museum, Dublin' (1933).
Robert Lawrie witnessed Robert Sorley Lawrie's declaration that he would adhere to the charter and bye-laws of the RIBA, 26 Dec 1925.
Irish Times, 13 Jun 1929.
IB 75, 5 Mar 1933, 225.
Information from Angela O'Connell, Rathmines Library (May 2000).
From Thom's directories.
5 work entries listed in chronological order for LAWRIE, ROBERT SORLEY #
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||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PARNELL SQUARE, CHARLEMONT HOUSE (MUNICIPAL GALLERY)
||Reconstruction to form art gallery, with H.T. O'Rourke, for Dublin Corporation. (Gallery formerly at 17 Harcourt St.)
Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and Civic Museum, Dublin' (1933), unpaginated; Irish Times, 7 Nov 1929; IB IB 71, 23 Nov 1929, 1057; 73, 21 Nov 1931, 1016; 75, 5 Mar 1933, 225(illus.); Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 149-152.
||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MILLMOUNT AVENUE (DRUMCONDRA), PUBLIC LIBRARY
||New. Attributable to RSL on basis of similarity to Inchicore public library. (But does not appear in Thom's directory for 1947).
Information from Angela O'Connell, Rathmines Library (May 2000); Susanne Roundtree, 'Three Dublin City Branch Libraries', Architecture Ireland 193 (Jan 2004), 62-63(illus.)