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30 June 2017

HES collaborates on Building Knowledge

A collaborative book by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and University of Edinburgh entitled, Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Edinburgh is published on Friday 30 June.

Woman reading a large book entitled "Building Knowledge"

A collaborative book by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and University of Edinburgh entitled, Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Edinburgh is published today, Friday 30 June.  

This new book explores the University’s architectural treasures and tells the fascinating history of the prestigious institution through its remarkable buildings. Recent work carried out by HES in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh shed new light on the university’s architectural legacy and ensured the renowned University has up-to-date records of its listed buildings across the estate.

Combining new photography with rare archive material, Building Knowledge explores the evolution of the University through its celebrated architecture, from the first college buildings through to the magnificence of Robert Adam’s Old College, to more controversial Modernist developments, like Basil Spence’s monumental central library. Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Designations, Heritage and Designations at Historic Environment Scotland said:

“Since 1583 the University of Edinburgh has been making history with its rich heritage of noted alumni and distinguished scholars. An integral part of the story has been the buildings where all this took place."

"I am delighted that these buildings have been brought to life for everyone to enjoy in this beautifully illustrated publication.”

Author’s Nick Haynes and Clive B. Fenton bring to life the fascinating history of the University through its celebrated buildings, which continue to be treasured by students, residents and visitors today.  Nick Hayes, author and architectural historian, said

“The last major historical study of the University of Edinburgh's buildings was published more than a quarter of a century ago and focused on Robert Adam and William Henry Playfair's masterpiece, Old College. This new book compiles a wealth of information and images, much of it previously unpublished, from the very earliest days of the 'Tounis College' built in 1582 through to the five campuses and more than 550 buildings in the University's estate today.”

The book also reveals how the University’s buildings have adapted to meet new teaching styles and also outlines many of the key figures who have graced the University’s halls, labs and lecture theatres such as: David Hume, Emeritus Professor Higgs, Robert Louis Stevenson and even Dolly the Sheep.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said:

“This book will add to the general understanding of our buildings and should add further to the pleasure that they offer. Many of our buildings are very beautiful and we have been working hard to be good custodians of our heritage. 
Attractive, well-designed and carefully stewarded buildings make our students, staff and the public happy".
The University of Edinburgh has influenced life in Scotland’s capital since it was established.  Founded in 1582, it is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities.
The book highlights the legacy of the University’s satellite campuses and incorporated institutions such as Moray House Institute of Education, selected medical research institutes, accommodation hall and Edinburgh College of Art.
Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Edinburgh, is priced at £25.00 and is available via our online shop and all major book stockists. It is the second publication in our Building Knowledge series and follows on from Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of the University of Glasgow.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.
  • The Scottish Ten Project saw HES and The Glasgow School of Art with CyArk digitally document Scotland’s as-then five world heritage sites and five international heritage sites. We are now using this data to develop interactive resources such as the Maeshowe app.

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA), a year that will celebrate Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories. From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland’s fascinating past. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and a variety of partners.

Get involved on Twitter with #HHA2017

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Twitter: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory 

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For further information

Miriam Morris
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8097
Mobile: 07813 357722