Exhibition Closing Soon

Making Space | Photographs of Architecture

On now until Sun 3 Mar 2024

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free


Try our free audio tour

The lift is currently out of order. There is no step-free/wheelchair access to the upper floors. We hope to resolve this issue soon.


Architecture is a record of human life past, present, and future – we are all intrinsically linked to it. Making Space explores how architecture impacts people’s lives. A poor built environment exacerbates inequality, but architecture has the power to address social issues including homelessness, poverty, and displacement. It considers how the built environment has a significant role to play in creating a more sustainable future. 

Architecture has also been an enduring theme in the story of photography. Visually engaging and physically static, buildings were the perfect subjects for early photographic experiments. In around 1826, French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first known photographic image - it was of the rooftops visible from his studio. Inspired by this and the wealth of incredible material in the national photography collection comes an exhibition which celebrates the connection between people and the spaces they exist in. 

This free exhibition spans the breadth of the history of photography. It highlights a diverse range of photographic styles, formats and processes dating from the 1840s to the present day. Follow the line from Hill & Adamson’s early experiments on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill through to spectacular contemporary photographs by Andreas Gursky and Chris Leslie which capture the breath-taking scale of modern buildings. 

Event accessibility

Exhibition accessibility

  • Large print labels
  • Wheelchair access


Swipe to explore

Gallery facilities

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Café
Getting here

Getting here

Located in the city centre on Queen Street, the Portrait is easy to access.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD



Supported by

Audio tour

Join photographers Sylvia Grace Borda and Chris Leslie and architect Andy Summers as they talk about a selection of works from this exhibition. They are joined by members of the CARDS group from Rowan Alba. Rowan Alba is an Edinburgh-based community which seeks to end and prevent homelessness in a compassionate, human way without judgement.

Together they have picked out some highlights from the exhibition to talk about. We hope these unscripted and informal conversations help to open up this exhibition to different opinions and reactions.

Related articles

Related articles

Disappearing Glasgow

Curator Louise Pearson catches up with the photographer Chris Leslie to learn more about his Disappearing Glasgow project.   

Kirsty Mackay | The Fish That Never Swam

Kirsty Mackay talks to curator Louise Pearson about her photography series The Fish That Never Swam. 

Thomas Annan

Roberta McGrath looks at Annan's continuing relevance through his most celebrated work The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow.

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