(1721–92). Scots architect. The eldest son of William Adam, he became Master-Mason to the Board of Ordnance on the death of his father in 1748. He took his brother Robert into partnership, and over the next decade they completed the impressive military structures at Fort George and elsewhere in the Scottish Highlands that William had begun in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rising of 1745–6. A competent designer who drew on the vocabulary of Palladianism, John was nevertheless the business-manager of the partnership, which survived until 1758 when Robert set up his own practice in London. Works identifiable as by John and Robert were illustrated in Vitruvius Scoticus, published by John's son William (1751–1839) in 1811. His buildings include the completion of Hopetoun House, West Lothian (1750–6), the Adam family mausoleum in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh (1753), the Court House and other structures at Inveraray, Argyll (1755–61), and Moffat House, Moffat, Dumfries (1761). By the 1770s John had retired from practice, but was closely involved in the business affairs of his brothers James and Robert. When the Adelphi speculation, Strand, London, got into severe difficulties in 1772 John was forced to mortgage the family seat at Blair Adam to stave off bankruptcy.
From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.