Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
South Ayrshire
Planning Authority
South Ayrshire
NS 23701 10404
223701, 610404


Robert Adam (or Adam Brothers), 1787; later alterations by Boys Jarvis Partnership (1969-1973) and by ARP Lorimer Architects (1999-200). 4 T-plan, 1-2 storey, castellated farm steading blocks, arranged around a courtyard, with arched gateways, at N, S, E and W, linking the blocks and forming octagonal central courtyard, currently visitors' centre. Rubble construction with ashlar dressings. Clifftop setting.

COURTYARD ELEVATIONS: NW AND NE BLOCKS: 7-bay arcade, with arches fully glazed. Plate glass double doors in centre bay. SE BLOCK: 5 bays. 2 single doorways to left, window in centre. Window set within boarded door aperture to right of centre. Double doorway to right. SW BLOCK: 5 bays alternating windows (2) and doors (3).

EXTERNAL ELEVATIONS (N, S, E AND W ENTRANCES): archway with pilastered corners to piers, machicolated cornice, plain parapet. Roofless corbelled bartizans, with dummy arrow slits, to corners. Entrance flanked by pair of round towers attached to corners of single storey buildings (except N entrance): dummy lancet windows, plain cornice at eaves level, blind oculas above. Machicolated cornice surmounted by plain parapet. TRANSVERSE BUILDINGS, SIDE ELEVATIONS: 2-storey, 3 bays. Blind arch in centre. Cornice string course. Ocular windows to upper floors. GABLE ELEVATIONS: single-bay, moulded string course, blind oculus at attic level, roofless bartizans to corners, crowsteps to skews, cross at apex.

12-pane windows of various sizes in timber sash and case. Ridge stacks (SW block). Grey slate pitched roofs.

INTERIORS (seen 2010): NW BLOCK: gift shop and information centre within courtyard range, with stone flag floor, exposed stone walling, timber tie and cross beams. Auditorium to rear, with exposed timber roof structure. Exhibition space above, with exposed rafters. No discernible original features. NE BLOCK: restaurant, with ceramic tile floor, exposed stone walling, boarded timber ceiling and timber roof beams. No discernible original features. SE BLOCK: gift shop, with timber floor and exposed rafters, and public conveniences within courtyard range. Multi-purpose space ('Stone Barn') on both floors to rear, with timber floors and stairs, exposed stone walling and timber rafters. No discernible original features. SW BLOCK: offices within courtyard range No discernible original features. Dwelling house linked to rear (Home Farm House) with some original, or early, features: carved stone chimneypiece in parlour, consisting of pilasters with chamfered edges and moulded bases supporting a carved anthemion frieze and corniced mantel shelf. Timber window architraves and shutters, with iron fastening hasps. Stone newel staircase. Timber panelled doors in main upstairs room.

Statement of Special Interest

Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.

Home Farm, together with Culzean Castle and the Stable Block, is part of an outstanding clifftop grouping exemplifying the ideals of the Picturesque movement, which also represents the largest ensemble of Robert Adam buildings to have been executed. Significantly, this group appears in several paintings by Alexander Nasmyth, commissioned by the 1st Marquess of Ailsa.

Home Farm replaced the old offices attached to the Castle, which were demolished in 1788. Considered a model farm steading in an age of improvement, accommodation included houses for the land steward and the dairyman, as well as stables, byre, sheds and barns. James Adam may have been involved as he had his own farm in Hertfordshire and wrote about the practicalities of efficient farming. A series of drawings by the Adams' office entitled 'Farm Offices' demonstrates the geometrical ordering of the scheme, with the whole contained within an outer fenced octagonal enclosure. It is not knwn if the outer enclosure was erected. The drawings also have the NE and SW blocks designated 'ox house' and 'shed for carts', with open colonnades, or loggias, in the Palladian manner, on the courtyard elevations. Clearly the scheme was altered in execution, presumably by Adam's clerk of works, Hugh Cairncross. Indeed the architectural emphasis appears to have shifted from internal to external as the external elevations are highly ornamented, with turrets and crowsteps, while the courtyard elevations are fairly utilitarian, with simple arched openings on the NW and NE ranges, and irregular fenestration on the others. The original uses of the various buildings were probably much as specified in the Adams' plan, although the SW courtyard range is unlikely to have served as a cart house since the doorways are too narrow. Archive photographs show chimney stacks protruding from the round towers flanking one of the entrance arches. These are no longer extant.

In 1969-73 Home Farm was converted into a visitor centre for the newly designated Country Park by the Boys Jarvis Partnership. At this time there were substantial stonework repairs and all but one of the 4 blocks was re-roofed. There have been subsequent internal alterations and schemes of redecoration since that time including the creation of the facilities known as 'Stone Barn' within the SE block and visitor centre and shop and exhibition space from 1999-2000 by ARP Lorimer Architects and Skakel & Skakel (exhibition designers).

Together with the outstanding ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle (a Scheduled Monument) were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.

Robert Adam (1728-1792) was one of the most prominent architects of his generation and, for a time the most fashionable architect in Britain. He helped to usher in the neoclassical taste that superseded Palladianism and created a refined style of interior design that came to bear his name. His castellated mansions set in Romantic landscapes, such as Culzean and Seton, helped define the picturesque movement and strongly influenced the design of Scottish country houses in the first half of the 19th century. With his family firm he undertook most types of architectural work, although large public commissions, such as Register House and Edinburgh University, only came towards the end of his career.

List description revised as part of the Culzean Castle Estate Review 2010-11.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey (1854-9). E Beazley, 'Culzean Park Centre: a new use for Robert Adam's Home Farm' Architectural Digest, Dec 1978, v35, n10, pp120-130. Rob Close. Ayrshire & Arran illustrated Architectural Guide (1992) pp169-172. A A Tait, Robert Adam Drawings and Imagination (1993), p162. David King, The Complete Works of Robert and James Adam (2001), pp330, 331 fig 469. Michael S Moss, The Magnificent Castle of Culzean & the Kennedy Family (2002) p73. Photographic copies of Adam drawings from the Soane Collection (AYD 43/60); Archive photograph circa 1910 (B63894); Mechanical copies of drawings from the J & J A Carrick Collection (AYD 43/114-117), all in the RCAHMS. National Trust for Scotland Archive. Additional information from Michael Moss, University of Glasgow and Kinlay Laidlaw, National Trust for Scotland Area Surveyor (2010).

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Printed: 23/01/2019 13:20