James Salmon

1873 - 1924

Architect. Born in Glasgow into a family of architects, he was the grandson of another James Salmon (1805-88). He was educated at the High School of Glasgow and then Glasgow School of Art, where he gained similar Celtic influences to Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928). Salmon trained in the family practice and with William Leiper (1839 - 1916), touring Europe after he qualified.

Noted for his innovative designs, Salmon's most famous buildings are in Glasgow; the Mercantile Chambers on Bothwell Street (1898), which was at the time the largest steel-framed office block in the city; the art nouveau St. Vincent Chambers (The Hatrack; 1902), another early steel-framed construction which makes extensive use of glass, and the Lion Chambers (1905), an early reinforced concrete building. All of these are now A-listed. His later work was mostly domestic, although he designed wood-panelling for the battlecruiser HMS Repulse and battleship HMS Royal Oak in 1916.

His father died in 1911, but had taken on John Gaff Gillespie (1870 - 1926) who became senior partner. Salmon left the practice two years later and set up on his own. The family firm evolved to become the notable modernist architectural practice Gillespie, Kidd & Coia.

He died at his home in Jane Street (Blythswood Square, Glasgow) and is remembered as an architect who pushed the limits of expression further than any of his British contemporaries.

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