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Building Knowledge

An Architectural History of the University of Edinburgh

Nick Haynes and Clive B Fenton


Edinburgh is a city renowned for critical thinking, cutting edge breakthroughs and unique creativity. At the heart of these enlightened ideals lies the University of Edinburgh, which has influenced life in the capital since it was founded in the late sixteenth century.

Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Edinburgh reveals how the structural fabric of the University has often reflected the changing priorities of Edinburgh scholars. Buildings which emerged from the initial mishmash of the Old Town were to become iconic Scottish landmarks – from the classical magnificence of Robert Adams' purpose-built Old College, to more controversial Modernist developments, like Basil Spence's monumental central library.

Combining beautiful new photography with rare archive material, Building Knowledge explores the evolution of the University through its celebrated architecture. Many leading figures have graced the University's halls, laboratories and lecture theatres, from David Hume and Emeritus Professor Higgs, to Robert Louis Stevenson and Dolly the Sheep. Its buildings will continue to inspire the education of students for generations to come.



Nick Haynes is a freelance architectural historian and historic environment consultant based in Edinburgh. Clive B Fenton is an architectural historian with special interests in twentieth-century architecture and planning and Scottish architecture.



ISBN 9781849172462

Publication: 30 June 2017


290 x 235mm

Published by:
Historic Environment Scotland in association with the University of Edinburgh

Price: £25.00

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