Adam Smith’s home named as a contender in the Building Conservation category

The only remaining home of Adam Smith, restored by Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, is among projects shortlisted for a prestigious RICS Awards 2019, Scotland.

RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has announced the shortlist, which includes some of the most-loved and impressive built environment projects in the country.

Panmure House, the iconic building in Edinburgh’s Canongate, was reopened last summer by Rt Hon Gordon Brown after extensive renovation. 

In conserving, restoring and reinvigorating Panmure House, Edinburgh Business School and Heriot-Watt University’s aim is to preserve the former home of Adam Smith for future generations.

Edinburgh Business School’s Executive Dean, Professor Heather McGregor said:

“Panmure House is a resource for the people of Scotland and beyond. It will bring the world to Scotland, just as Adam Smith took Scotland to the world.”

Professor McGregor continued, “We are extremely grateful to everyone who worked on the restoration project, which was overseen by Heriot-Watt University civil engineering alumnus, Brian Watters, and we are delighted that this important historic asset has been nominated for such a prestigious award.

“The budget for this kind of restoration work was always likely to present challenges and I would also like to thank our supporters from all over the world, including Edinburgh World Heritage and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

“Our special thanks also go to our partners, EKJN architects, LLPMaxi Construction and project manager Faithfull & Gould for their extensive work in bringing the building back to life.”

Panmure House is competing with some of the most iconic buildings in the Building Conservation category, including Mackintosh at the Willow, the restored Willow Tearooms in Glasgow, and Aberdeen Music Hall.

A total of 28 projects are competing in eight categories for the awards run by RICS in Scotland. The eight categories for 2019 are; Building Conservation, Commercial, Community Benefit, Design through Innovation, Infrastructure, Regeneration, Residential and Tourism & Leisure.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh in May and will all be put forward to compete for the Scottish project of the year title.All the Scottish winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final in November 2019, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.


Panmure House was bought by Edinburgh Business School in 2008 with the aim of conserving and developing the house as a centre of excellence for the study of contemporary economics, a place of reflection on the legacy of Adam Smith, and a venue for debate.

The two major rooms Adam Smith used to work and study in have been restored to continue with their academic purpose.

Originally built in 1691 by Lt Col George Murray, Panmure House was sold to the 4th Earl of Panmure in 1696. It remained in the family until the death of the 5th Earl. It then passed to the 8th Earl of Dalhousie, who leased it to Adam Smith in 1778. Smith lived there, with his mother and a cousin, until his death in 1790, aged 67. During this time the house was a regular meeting place for Smith and other leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Adam Ferguson and James Watt. Whilst living at Panmure House, Smith revised The Wealth of Nations and wrote two further editions of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, his two most famous works.

The house was made a Grade A listed building in 1970 and was purchased by Edinburgh Business School in 2008, after having fallen into a dilapidated state. The building needed full-scale refurbishment and, after a fundraising drive and some initial work, the project slowed down until it was revived by Heriot-Watt University’s current Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Williams and Professor Heather McGregor, following her appointment by Edinburgh Business School in 2016.

Panmure House was finally reopened during a ceremony in August 2018 by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, joined by Lord Vallance of Tummel, Chairman of Edinburgh Business School and Professor Heather McGregor, Executive Dean.

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