ALEXANDER Esme Gordon, who died on Monday, was one of the foremost

architects of his generation, but he will be remembered equally as a

doughty fighter for the Royal Scottish Academy.

Esme Gordon was 82, but still made the journey from his home in

Barnton, Edinburgh, to the gallery on the Mound at least once a week. He

had been secretary of the RSA from 1973 to 1978, wrote its history, and

was determined that it should never be subsumed into the empire of the

National Galleries of Scotland.

Educated at Edinburgh Academy and the architecture school at Edinburgh

College of Art, he was part of the core team under Thomas Smith Tait

which designed the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow.

After war service with the Royal Engineers in Europe he went on to

design many admired buildings in Edinburgh, including the extension to

Heriot Watt University in Chamber Street (now demolished) and the

headquarters of the South of Scotland Electricity Board in George


He was also architect to the High Kirk of St Giles, and wrote a

history of the cathedral.

Each year his work at the RSA exhibition was always among the first to

be sold, but his only solo exhibition was in the Scottish Gallery in

1988. His wife, Betsy, died in 1990, and he is survived by sons Giles

and Christopher, and daughter Celia.