The biggest cities in Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen have rather remarkable differences in their architectural styles. Home design specialist DM Design zoned in on these differences and also explored how political and historic events had an influence on the design and construction of these cities.

Edinburgh

A boom in Edinburgh’s architecture was ignited by the Union Act of 1707, although the buildings were mainly unsafe, tall and tenement, poorly designed to house a huge population in what was really a small space. Mansions existed as well and were located around the countryside and the poor lived in close proximity to the wealthy.

Edinburgh’s architecture was impacted greatly by the Age of Enlightenment with William Henry Playfair playing a big role as well. Some of his designs went into the construction of some of the cities’ most monumental buildings, presented in a classical Greek revival style. That’s where the ‘Athens of the North’ name comes from.

1752 saw the proposition of a new town by the Edinburgh’s Town Council. This new town featured designs which were aimed at the wealthy, incorporating large gardens into them with shopping centres and green spaces.

Glasgow

From its 560 AD religious settlement beginnings when the St Mungo church was built as well as the Glasgow Cathedral in 1197, the architecture of Glasgow city had its biggest influence from the Union Act, when the United Kingdom was formed.

A regeneration of Glasgow took place following the war, with award-winning architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh transforming the city’s landscape with some of his designs. He maintained a historical and ornamental style throughout buildings that included the Glasgow Herald Building, the Glasgow School of Art Commission and Walter Blackie’s ‘The Hill House’ family home.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen featured many famous buildings and homes which were made from granite, extracted from quarries around the area, which is why it’s known as the Granite City. Tenements around the Rosemount Viaduct (1880s), No 50. Queen’s Road (1886), Provost Skene’s House (1545), the Aberdeen Music Hall (1820), and Rosemount Square are all examples of some of these granite buildings.

Aberdeen also established itself as the granite capital of the world with lots of granite exported.

Inverness

The establishment of Inverness goes all the way back to 585 AD, making it one of Scotland’s most historic towns. The highlands were a site for the congregation of traders.

Inverness Castle was constructed in the 12th century with the settlement of King David and it was changed from a wooden fort to stone.

With its 1593 construction, Abertarff House is the longest-surviving house in Inverness and it was developed with corbie steps synonymous with a host of other Scottish structures and Danish medieval churches.

Georgian features characterised the 1700s with the Balnain House built around 1726. It featured strong symmetry and was imposing and powerful in its appearance. The old courthouse, jail and tollbooth steeple also depict Georgian architecture.

The architectural winds of change blew through Inverness in the 1800s, with the Inverness Cathedral making for a perfect example of one of these changes. It features a Gothic Revival style while 1882 saw the construction of the Victorian Gothic-style Town House, quite prominently featuring finials and gables characteristics.