Alex Rattray was born 13 June 1933. In 1958 Rattray graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He quickly found work with the Winnipeg firm of Pratt & Lindgren Architects from 1958 to 1959; following this he was hired by the architectural office Ward & MacDonald Architects. The subsequent year, having received one of the first Canada Council Fellowships in landscape architecture, Rattray pursued a Master’s degree in this field from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1961. This period of study was succeeded by a position with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (1961-63) and, later, employment with the Worcester Redevelopment Authority in nearby Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1965. It was while working here that he registered with the Manitoba Association of Architects.
Rattray then joined the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he served as Head of the Lowthorpe Department of Landscape Architecture. In 1969 – while at RISD – he was invited by John A. Russell to start a program of landscape architecture at the University of Manitoba. From 1969 to 1994 he served as the Department Head of this program. While serving this role he established the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture Italian Field Studies and Studio Program with Dottoressa Angela Luvera. Beyond his academic work at the University of Manitoba, Rattray has also served as visiting professor and lecturer at several universities, including at the Universities of Ediburgh, Melbourne, Toronto; he was also a Nubrik Townscape Fellow to the State of Victoria from 1984-88 and Advisory Professor to the Chonqing Institute of Architecture and Engineering from 1988-89. In addition to such educational pursuits, he has – since entering the academy – participated in professional practice with special projects in China, Australia, the United States, Italy. Consulting internationally.
Rattray has been furthermore active within the field at a committee level, serving on with the International Federation of Landscape Architecture in this capacity and as presidential advisor for the organization. Additionally, he has been president of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and is past chair of the CSLA Accreditation Council. He has served as Chair of the National Capital Commission Advisory Committee on Design and has worked closely with numerous national agencies, amongst them the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Parks Canada. Rattray is an honorary life member of the Manitoba Association of Landscape Architects; a founding director of the Italian consortium Consorzio Projetto Ambienta; and has been named Professor Emeritus with the University of Manitoba Department of Landscape Architecture.