Elected ARSA: 16 March1983 

John Boys was born in Kirriemuir, the first of three children of a United Free Church Minister. Inevitably, his father’s ministry moved the family around Scotland, living successively in Fort William, Boddam, Kilmarnock, Glasgow and, finally, Dundee where John Boys began his study of architecture at the School of Art.


After his completion of National Service with the Royal Army Education Corp, which took him to Kenya and Egypt, he completed his studies at the Glasgow School of Architecture. On graduating in 1958, John Boys joined the long-established practice of Keppie, Henderson, resigning in 1958 to set up the firm of Lothian Barclay, Jarvis and Boys.


The firm quickly gained a local and then national reputation for quality domestic and educational work, receiving more than ten awards for housing and industrial architecture. After the dissolution of the partnership he continued in practice until retiring, due to ill-health, in 1998.


In addition to his strong architectural commitments, John Boys, a keen spare-time sailor and artist, was a founder member of the New Glasgow Society (an urban amenity group); acouncil member and educational assessor for the Royal Incorporation of Architects of Scotland and of the Glasgow Institute of Architects; a member of the Saltire Society; served ten years on the Royal Fine Arts Commission; and was elected Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1983.


John Boys’ many architectural contributions are scattered across his beloved Scotland. His respect and knowledge of Scottish vernacular architecture supported his conviction that buildings could combine traditional forms with modern lifestyles. This forceful conviction, expressed in his ideas and buildings, made John Boys an effective influence on Scotland’s developing architectural attitudes.


A man of strong but gentle presence, sensitivity and intuition, John Boys argued rationally and intellectually, convincing by abstract and concrete example and belonged to a diminishing group of architects in whom pre-war birth and post-war practice engendered a unique social and artistic conscience. John Boys is survived by Bridget Jensen Boys and their three children, Adam, Jamie and AmandaJo. 


Transcribed from the 2000 RSA Annual Report