Architecture and Town-Planning Archives
The following are our chief archive and manuscript resources for research into architecture and town-planning.
This list, however, is by no means comprehensive. For a fuller overview of our collections, consult the Archives Catalogue.
Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1834-1921) was a prominent Scottish architect, whose designs include the University of Edinburgh's New Medical School and the McEwan Hall. He is known for rejecting the prevailing Scottish Baronial style in favour of functional and restrained buildings. This collection consists of drawings of public and private buildings throughout Scotland, including banks, barracks, libraries, institutions, and mansion houses
Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was a pioneer of modern town planning, civic sociology, and environmentalism. While lecturing in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh from 1880 to 1888, he created one of the University’s first student residences at Riddle’s Court. The collection, originally held at the Outlook Tower, includes Geddes' own papers, papers of the Association for Planning and Regional Reconstruction, and many other materials relating to planning, city exhibitions, and the urban environment.
Percy Johnson-Marshall (1915-1993) was one of post-World War II Britain's most prominent and influential town-planners. He was Professor of Urban Design and Regional Planning at the University of Edinburgh from 1964 to 1985, in which post he masterminded the comprehensive development of the university's George Square campus. Upon retiring from the Chair, he became director of the Patrick Geddes Centre for Planning Studies. The Collection includes papers, plans, books, journals, and photographs, reflecting all aspects of Johnson-Marshall's professional practice and academic career.
Sir Robert Stoddart Lorimer (1864-1929) was a prolific Scottish architect and furniture designer who worked with Sir Rowand Anderson before setting up his own practice. Deeply influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, he is known both for new work in Scottish vernacular styles and for the sensitive restoration of historic buildings. The papers include plans and correspondence relating to projects throughout the United Kingdom.
Sir Robert Hogg Matthew (1906-1975) was a leading 20th-century architect responsible for designing Scottish new towns, rebuilding war-damaged London, and devising major modernist building projects in Edinburgh, including the redevelopment of university buildings in George Square. He held the joint post of Professor of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh and head of the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art from 1953 to 1975. The papers relate to subjects including Mathew's architectural practice, his academic work, and his involvement with international organizations, and also include some personal materials.
William Henry Playfair (1790-1857) is responsible for many of the landmarks of Edinburgh's New Town and for completing the University of Edinburgh's Old College building. Although primarily associated with the Greek revivalist or neo-classical school, he mastered a number of architectural styles, also designing the university's neo-Gothic New College building. This collection of over 5000 drawings ranges from Playfair's student drawings, through sketch designs and preliminary schemes, to many presentation drawings in watercolour. Click here for further Playfair materials including correspondence.
Edward Taylor is an architect and planning consultant who has worked on a wide range of building throughout Scotland. At the end of the twentieth century, he was responsible for the renovation and refurbishment and the University of Edinburgh's McEwan Hall and New Medical School. The collection consists records of these two projects.