The Forbes Chair of Architecture was established in 1947. It was a joint post with Edinburgh College of Art, where the holder would also be Head of the School of Architecture. The first appointee was Raymond Gordon Brown (1912-1962).
In 1963, the School of Architecture was transferred from the Faculty of Arts to the newly founded Faculty of Social Sciences. Two further architectural chairs were established shortly afterwards: the Chair of Architectural Science (1966) and the Robert Adam Chair of Architecture (1967) (both currently vacant). A further Chair of Architectural Computing was established in 1994.
In 2009, the School of Architecture merged with Edinburgh College of Art's School of Landscape Architecture to form the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). The merger of these two schools pre-empted and, in many ways, anticipated the full merger of Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art in August 2011.
From 2009 to 2011, the ESALA belonged to both Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University's School of Arts, Culture and Environment. Since August 2011 it has been part of an enlarged Edinburgh College of Art within Edinburgh University's College of Humanities and Social Science.
As a consequence of the merger of Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, two new university chairs were created in 2011: Landscape Architecture and Architectural History and Theory.
Forbes Professors of Architecture
- 1948-1950: Raymond Gordon Brown (1912-1962)
- 1953-1975: Sir Robert Hogg Matthew (1906–1975) (part-time from 1968)
- 1985-1992: Isi Metzstein (1928-2012)
- 1992-1995: Robert Tavernor (1954- )
- 2013- : Mark Dorrian
Robert Adam Professors of Architecture
- 1968-1982: Guy Barrie Oddie (1922-2011)
Professors of Architectural Science
- 1968-1995: Christopher Barrie Wilson (1935- )
Professors of Architectural Computing
- 1995- : Richard Coyne
Professors of Architectural History and Theory
- 2011- : Ian Campbell
Professors of Landscape Architecture
- 2012- : Catharine Ward Thompson