A NATIVE of Edinburgh, after serving an apprenticeship as
an architect in a Glasgow office, Professor Gourlay acted as principal assistant
in two architects' offices. In 1886 he won the Glasgow Architectural Association
Prize for the best set of measured drawings and sketches. In March, 1887, he
passed the examination in architecture conducted by the Royal Institute of
British Architects in London, and was duly elected an Associate of that
He was appointed Lecturer on Building Construction in the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College n 1888. There in his first session he had 42 students, in the next over 80, and the number rapidly increased till in a very short time he had about 490, and had to turn away between 50 and 100 students every year owing to want of accommodation. In April, 1895, the Governors of the College recognised his conspicuous success as a teacher by creating the Chair of Architecture and Building Construction in the College, and unanimously appointing him its first occupant.
In his study of architecture Professor Gourlay has travelled in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Salonica, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Greece, Sicily, Italy, Switzerland, France and Great Britain, and has visited the most important centres of architectural education on the continent and at home.
A work on Building Construction especially written by him for Scottish students and published by Messrs. Blackie & Son in 1903 has been highly commended in reviews as "breaking new ground in the subject" and as "being admirably lucid and to the point."
He has contributed many articles on architectural subjects to the professional papers, particularly to the Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has also read papers on architecture to the Architectural Section of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, the Glasgow Architectural Association, the Technical College Architectural Craftsmen's Society, and other bodies. He has been for several years a Member of Council of the Glasgow Institute of Architects.
He holds the degree of B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, obtained after passing through the full course of study in Glasgow University.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)