South Bridge Building, Architect, Project, Photos, Design, Development, Info

South Bridge Edinburgh Architecture

The Bridges – Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

post updated 28 December 2021

South Bridge Edinburgh

Location: perpendicular to Royal Mile, centre of Old Town

South Bridge was originally designed by Robert Adam but executed by Kay, it is slightly down-at-heel but look up and you can see a variety of Neoclassical facades and gable ends that somehow manage to talk to each other.

South Bridge Edinburgh
photo © Adrian Welch, 23 Feb 2007, with lumix camera

Here’s a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Social inequality is nowhere more ostentatious than at Edinburgh…to look over the South Bridge and see the Cowgate below full of crying hawkers, is to view one rank of society from another in the twinkling of an eye”.

South Bridge shop
photograph © Adrian Welch, 230207, with a lumix camera

Here’s a quote by architect and tutor Ed Hollis:
“South Bridge, (for it is he) is a viaduct of 19 arches, finished in 1788 to the design of an architect whose name, so far as we know, is disputed. So it’s a Georgian bridge with buildings running along the sides. Or it’s a Georgian building with a road running over the roof. Or it’s a wall of rooms you can live in. Or it’s a room of walls you can live in. It’s a work of art.”

South Bridge – southeast gable to Cowgate:
Edinburgh Old Town facade - gable to Cowgate
photo © Adrian Welch – no larger image available

Here’s a quote re South Bridge by David Black, Edinburgh historic expert:
“a planned scheme first envisaged by Robert Adam, and relates to his Old College nearby. His design was not the one which was built – if it had been, we would have had an arcaded grand avenue on a par with the Rue de Rivoli in Paris – but the plainer version retained an Adamesque flavour, and pioneered the palace façade principle for buildings in mixed use which would become the leitmotiv of Edinburgh’s sophisticated urban neoclassicism“.

South Bridge context – Bank Hotel, on the corner of the High Street, also known as the Royal Mile:
South Bridge building
architecture photo © Adrian Welch, 230207, with lumix camera

Edinburgh Old Town Fire design competition – an international architecture contest jointly run by Scottish architect Adrian Welch alongside Inigo Media’s Dan Frydman.

Block on corner of South Bridge & Chambers Street:
South bridge Chambers Street
South Bridge buildings photo © Adrian Welch

South Bridge – northeast gable to Cowgate – no larger image available:
South Bridge gable
photo © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh Walking Tours : Architecture Walking Tours for pre-booked groups of visitors

South Bridge context: Tron Kirk

Edinburgh Old Town

The context: Radisson Hotel Edinburgh, located on the south side of the Royal Mile / High Street

Old College

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament entrance
image courtesy of architects practice

Hunter Square

Macdonald Hotel in the Old Town

Comments / photos for the South Bridge Edinburgh page welcome