Edinburgh World Heritage - Grand Designs - Robert Adam, 1728-1792, Architect

Grand Designs - Robert Adam, 1728-1792, Architect

Robert Adam, the must have architect for that little place in the country or city elegance, great with fireplaces and inspired by sheep’s heads…

The name of Robert Adam is almost synonymous with Georgian Britain. His elegant houses are popular tourist destinations.

Like many architects and developers since, Robert Adam made money because he tapped into British aspirations and developed a style that appealed to the upper middle classes who really wanted to own their own country estates, but did not have the means to do so.

In Edinburgh his most beautiful composition is Charlotte Square in the New Town. Here, particularly on the North Side, he managed to conceal a number of houses within a building that looked more like the front of a palace. Inside he created a revolution with his floor plans, which would make life so different from that experienced in the Old Town.

His style was influenced by his travels in Italy where he experienced Ancient Roman and Greek architecture. He soaked up the simplicity of style and plans, but also saw that decoration like statues, rams heads, and swags of leaves could add something to designs.

Why is he important?
-    The greatest architect of the 18th century
-    Influenced generations of designers
-    Many of his buildings are still in use today, including the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, Bute House

Things to do:
Imagine you are a Georgian Architect off to visit some possible new clients. Make your own design book of ideas for a new house.

Robert Adam was influenced by Roman and Greek art and architecture – investigate what made these styles so interesting, and see if you can find buildings which have been inspired by them.

Charlotte Square and the Georgian House (National Trust for Scotland)

Curriculum Links: Expressive Arts, Languages, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies, Technologies

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