Product Type
Application Area
Lighting Effect
Product Type
Application Area
Lighting Effect

The Playfair Library at Edinburgh University


About Project

The Old College at Edinburgh University is one of the most important public buildings in the city and its cupola is a feature of the city's skyline. The University was founded in 1583, but two hundred years later, its original buildings were demolished.

The Old College that we see nowadays is the work of two of Scotland's most important architects, Robert Adam and William Playfair. The stone panel sculpted at the top above the main entrance commemorates his first designer, "Architect Robert Adam". Building work began in 1789, but the work was interrupted after just four years due to a lack of funds with just the main entrance completed. Between 1819 and 1827, the rest of the building was completed by William Playfair. Inside the Old College, the Playfair Library is a genuine treasure, probably the most sophisticated interior in Edinburgh. It is 58 metres long (190 feet) with a vaulted ceiling and high grooved pillars which become columns at the very top. It was used as a working library from 1820 until the 1960s when the University's main collection was transferred to George Square. The Library is currently used to host dinners, receptions and important conferences.

The artificial lighting was fairly obsolete with traditional sources that failed to provide uniformity or adequate lighting levels.

The new system with 4000 K colour temperature provided by Underscore, accentuates the vault in its entirety with a soft, even light, without shadowy areas. The lighting levels can be dimmed when necessary.

The Palco Framer spotlights with warmer colour temperature are used to precisely define the lighting of the paintings on display in the areas next to the actual library.

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  • Year:
  • Client:
    University of Edinburgh
  • Architectural project:
    Robert Adam (1728-1792)
    William Playfair ( 1790-1857)
  • General contractor:
    Arthur Mckay
  • Photographer:
    Paul Zanre Photography

Products Used:

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