Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

University of Edinburgh, George Square Theatre, 32 George Square, EdinburghLB50190

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 25885 72842
325885, 672842


Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners 1965-1970 (Blyth & Blyth, structural engineers; Crudens, contractors). 2-storey and basement, rectangular-plan theatre, forming part of university faculty group in Modernist style, set on stepped concrete podium double as gardens. Lower storey is base for overhanging raked seating area above. Reinforced concrete construction; clad in York stone slabs. Curved copper-clad roof.

N (George Square) elevation: single-storey timber frame, divided vertically into seven elements, contains plate glass windows and doors to entrance front; advanced revolving door to centre. Horizontal band of glazing to mezzanine level. E (end) elevation: horizontal mezzanine windows. W (end) elevation: additional entrance at mezzanine level reached by external staircase flying above podium edge. S (Buccleuch Place) elevation: similar to main entrance design to N at sub-podium level with revolving door and foyer under a higher overhang. Clerestorey windows above entrance.

INTERIOR: wide staircase ascends half way then divides in 2 at return flights. Entrances to auditorium on either side of the stage. Part of sub-podium space occupied by Faculty car park, with vehicle exit to left of theatre in Buccleuch Place. Extensive use of hardwood joinery and fittings throughout.

Statement of Special Interest

A-Group with David Hume Tower (Block A) and David Hume Lecture Block (Block B); William Robertson Building (Block C); Adam Ferguson Building (Block D); (see separate list descriptions). (Also see David Hume Tower list description for full details of the commission and Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall's involvement. The David Hume Tower listing also includes a full description of the stepped podium.)

The Arts Faculty group is one of the key monuments of Scottish Modernism and represents both the aspirations of the nation for its post-war Higher Education system and the ideals of some of Scotland's premier architects. Since then, the David Hume Tower has become one of the city's landmarks and, along with the Appleton Tower (see separate listing), a distinctive feature on the skyline.

The architecture is of a very high standard of design and execution and the materials, especially in the tower, are of exceptional quality. The large raised stage area to the George Square Theatre accommodates both lectures and theatrical performances. Apart from some repainting, the dispersal of the furniture from the foyer, and some recently installed theatre lights; the building is in its original state and in good condition (June 2004).

Statutory address updated (2015). Previously listed as '32 George Square, University of Edinburgh, Arts Faculty, George Square Theatre (Block E)'.



Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: CANMORE ID 122526

University Development and George Square (University of Edinburgh) (March 1960).

University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area (University of Edinburgh) (1962).

Architectural Design (January 1962) p35. Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall (RMJM) Edinburgh University Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences Development Plan (First Report: Space Requirements to 1970) (January 1964).

RMJM Edinburgh University Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences Development Plan (Second Report: Planning Proposals 1964-1970) (October 1964).

Architectural Review, (June 1968) p440.

Concrete Quarterly (April-June 1964) pp14-16.

M Glendinning, A MacKechnie, R MacInnes, History of Scottish Architecture (1996) p447.

M Glendinning (Ed.) Rebuilding Scotland (1997) pp165-167.

J Gifford, C McWilliam, D Walker The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1991) p245.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


North elevation, University of Edinburgh, George Square Theatre, 32 George Square, Edinburgh
Buccleuch Place elevation, University of Edinburgh, George Square Theatre, 32 George Square, Edinburgh

Printed: 21/05/2024 14:27