Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, FRSE RSA (5 April 1834 – 1 June 1921) was a Scottish Victorian architect. Anderson trained in the office of George Gilbert Scott in London before setting up his own practice in Edinburgh in 1860. During the 1860s his main work was small churches in the ‘First Pointed’ (or Early English) style that is characteristic of Scott’s former assistants. By 1880 his practice was designing some of the most prestigious public and private buildings in Scotland.
His works include the Scottish National Portrait Gallery; the Dome of Old College, Medical Faculty and McEwan Hall, the University of Edinburgh; Govan Old Parish Church and the Pearce Institute; the Central Hotel at Glasgow Central Station, the Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh and Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute for the 3rd Marquess of Bute.
Anderson was born at Liberton, outside Edinburgh, the third child of James Anderson (1797-1869), a solicitor, and Margaret Rowand (1797-1868). Educated at George Watson’s College, he began a legal apprenticeship in 1845, and briefly worked for his father’s firm. He began to study architecture in 1849, attending classes at the Trustees’ Drawing Academy (which later became Edinburgh College of Art), and was articled to architect John Lessels (1809–1883).
In 1857 he took a two-year post as an assistant to George Gilbert Scott, in his office at Trafalgar Square, London. Here he worked alongside many influential architects. He then spent time travelling and studying in France and Italy, also working briefly for Pierre Cuypers in Roermond, Netherlands.