King's Buildings

The King's Buildings (colloquially known as KB) is a campus of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and contains most of the schools within the College of Science and Engineering, excepting only part of the School of Informatics and the School of Geosciences, which are located at the central George Square campus. The campus lies south of West Mains Road, west of Mayfield Road and east of Blackford Hill, about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of George Square.[1]


In 1919 Edinburgh University bought the land of West Mains Farm in the south of the city with the intention of building a satellite campus specialising in the Sciences. The first building was the Chemistry Building (renamed the Joseph Black Building) designed by Arthur Forman Balfour Paul in 1919.[2] Building started in 1920 and was completed after 1924 by John Fraser Matthew. This was followed by the Zoology Building (renamed the Ashworth Laboratories) dating from 1929, also by Matthew.

The name "King's Buildings" links to the then king, George V.

During World War II, the Genetics Institute part of King's Buildings was used as the location for the first War Office Selection Board.[3]

Street and building names

All the campus properties shared one of two addresses until, in 2014, the University approached the City of Edinburgh Council, as the road naming authority, with a request to name all the individual roads within the campus to honour famous scientists and mathematicians associated with the University.

A report from the City of Edinburgh Development Management Sub-Committee on 30 July 2014 records the discussion regarding the names chosen.

"During discussions of the 13 suggested names, it was pointed out to the University that some of the names were overly long and cumbersome, and that any signs would be large and possibly difficult to site. The University maintained that these issues would not be a problem and that they wanted all of the names to be considered. Two of the proposed names were rejected as unsuitable as they did not meet the Council’s criteria for new street names: Christina Miller was deemed to be too similar sounding to Christie Miller, who already appears in three street names; and Robert Edwards does not meet the Council’s current 10 year requirement for deceased people. On 29 May a revised list of proposed names was submitted by the University, substituting Marion Ross Road for Christina Miller Road and James Dewar Road for Robert Edwards Road. The University was particularly keen to maintain as many women’s names as possible on the list, stating that this was felt to be important as they were under represented."[4]

The final agreed street system is:


Building names at KB are of greater long-standing than the road system but also reflect the spectrum of British science:

The Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) also have facilities there.

On 5 August 2014, FloWave TT[7] was inaugurated by Amber Rudd, the UK Minister for Energy and Climate Change. The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility is a world-unique, 25-metre (82 ft) diameter wave and current tank primarily focused on testing marine energy technologies and projects.

Other facilities

  • King's Buildings House, also known as KB House, is the student union at King's Buildings, run by Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA). The Mayfield Bar and Blackford Lounge serve hot food and drinks on the ground floor, along with the KB House Shop and a games room. A full servery, Common Room and Kitchen, can be found upstairs, serving a wider variety of hot food. The union is also home to The Advice Place student advisory service and KB Gym, which includes two badminton and two squash courts.[8]
  • KB Centre Shop is another EUSA run shop, located in the KB Centre. The store stocks convenience products, alongside hot drinks, made-to-order sandwiches and hot food to take away.[9]
  • The Magnet Café in the James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB), run by EUSA.
  • KB Café in the Noreen and Kenneth Murray Library, run by the university.
  • Upstairs Café in the Swann Building, run by the university.
  • XY Café in the Roger Land Building, run by the university.
  • Brucks Café in the Mary Bruck building, run by the university.
  • The Eng Inn in the Hudson Beare Building, run by the university.[10]

King's Buildings 5 Mile Road Race

The KB 5 Road Race is organised every year by the Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds Running Club.[11] It is usually held in late February or early March. The race starts and finishes inside the King's Buildings campus. The course consists of a 5-mile (8.0 km) road loop around the streets of south Edinburgh, with quite a few hills, though none of them steep. The race is popular with student and local club runners and usually attracts around 250 participants.[12]


  1. "The King's Buildings". University of Edinburgh College of Science and Engineering. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  2. Dictionary of Scottish Architects:Arthur Forman Balfour Paul
  3. Crang, Jeremy A. (18 November 2000). The British Army and the People's War, 1939-1945. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719047411.
  4. "Proposed street naming at the King's Buildings Campus". City of Edinburgh Council. Development Management Sub Committee. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  5. "Building profile: Crew Laboratory". University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  6. "FloWave - Ocean Energy Research Facility". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  7. "FloWave - Ocean Energy Research Facility". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  8. "King's Buildings Bars and Cafes". Edinburgh University Students' Association. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  9. "Our Shops". Edinburgh University Students' Association. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  10. "The King's Buildings". University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  11. "Haries - Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds Running Club, est. 1890". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  12. "Haries - Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds Running Club, est. 1890". Retrieved 31 March 2017.

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