Robert Adam

Architect, creator of the University's Old College building, alumnus.

Adam plaque


Robert Adam was born in Kirkcaldy in 1728.

His father, William Adam, was a stonemason and architect; Robert and his brothers all followed his example, going on to become important figures in their field.

Adam's studies at The University of Edinburgh began in 1743, although they were cut short by illness.

He and his brother John eventually took over the family business, and were responsible for a number of prominent buildings in Edinburgh and the surrounding area.

In 1754, Adam embarked on a tour of Europe. He travelled through France and Italy, closely studying classical architecture and ancient ruins.

When he returned, he set up business with his brothers William and James in London.

Adam's architectural designs

Robert Adam worked on the designs for a number of famous buildings around the country, including many in and around Edinburgh.

Adam's plans for the University's Old College on South Bridge were drawn up in 1789, but he died in 1792, before his full vision could be realised.

The completion of Old College took a further 95 years, and involved a succession of architects including William Henry Playfair and Robert Rowand Anderson.

It is Adam's name, however, that appears above the entrance on Nicolson Street.

The plaque

Adam's plaque is in the vicinity of Old College.


In honour of Robert Adam


Architect and designer, first architect of Old College, alumnus of the University

Related links

Adam's entry in the Gazetteer for Scotland