Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and town planner. James Aitken, who came from an Edinburgh family, was born in 1908. He studied architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot Watt College, and then worked for some years with the Edinburgh City Architect. He joined the staff of the Office of Public Works in Dublin in 1937 and in 1944 was appointed principal chief assistant to Denis Winston, chief architect of the Northern Ireland Ministry of Health and Local Government, whom he succeeded in 1947.(1) In 1957 he was released by the Ministry for a few weeks for special duties in Scotland as planning assessor at a public enquiry being held in connection with amendment proposals to the St Andrew's development plan.(2) In 1963 he became chief planning officer to the Ministry of Development, and was leader of the design team for the new city of Craigavon. He died in February 1970.

RIBA: elected associate, 1937.(3)
RSUA: member; council member; president, 1952-4.
TPI: associate member, 1941; member, ?; foundation member and president of Irish branch.


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the brief biography of Aitken in IB 86, 26 Feb 1944, 84, which is illustrated with a portriat photograph, and from his obituary in RSUA Year Book (1971), 76. See also Dictionary of Scottish Architects (www.codexgeo.co.uk). Aitken appears in a group photograph in RSUA Jubilee Year Book 1951-1952, facing p. 37.

(1) IB 88, 1 Jun 1946, 320. Winston went to Australia to take up the new chair of town and country planning at the University of Sydney.
(2) IB 99, 18 May 1957, 393.
(3) RIBA Kalendar 1957-1958, list of members.