What humanities students don’t know about Kings Buildings

Our library is so much better than the one in George Square

Kings Buildings, located on the southern tip of Edinburgh, is the second home of most of Edinburgh’s STEM students. But, if you weren’t stupid enough to apply to study for a degree that requires three-hour-long labs, you’ll probably never have to take the shuttle bus over to these elusive buildings. Here’s what we wish you knew about studying at King’s:

The commute is soul destroying

I am begging humanities students to consider living in Tollcross or Bruntsfield and not Marchmont and Newington. Save those flats for those of us who have 9ams at Kings and have to wake up at an ungodly hour to get there from Haymarket or Leith. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll have to bike or get the bus to Kings, and by week seven, getting there in time for your lectures requires inhuman strength. On the plus side for us, vet and med students are probably watching on with jealousy as they stumble to the bus stop at 7am. Sorry guys.

The buildings have funny names and are mazes

JBB (Joseph Black Building), JCMB (James Clark Maxwell Building) KBH (King’s Building House), AGBB (Alexander Graham Bell Building) – one thing about scientists is they love an abbreviation. Most of the buildings are named after famous Edinburgh scientists and are filled with rooms that, if you can peer in, are full of magnets, rocks, mirrors, and stressed postgrads. They’re also massive – some of the corridors in JCMB (the home of Maths, Physics and Geosciences) are so long that they genuinely look like optical illusions.

The food and drinks are cheaper

Also, the cafes have cute names like the Eng Inn (in the Engineering Building), Element in Murchison House, and Bruck Street Kitchen. Most coffee at Kings costs even less if you bring a reusable mug! The meal deals are also cheaper, and the new wrap bar in the Nucleus is honestly to die for.

The Nucleus…

If you know a single STEM student, you will have heard them raving about the new Nucleus Building at King’s. It’s got new study spaces, lecture theatres and teaching spaces and is generally just cool and new. Here’s our guide to this swanky new masterpiece of corporate-educational design.

It’s way bigger than you think

What even are these buildings?

As any student who’s left less than five minutes to get from the other side of Kings to the bus stop by Murchison will tell you, it’s actually quite a long way across the campus.

The music in King’s Building’s House is worse than the Big Cheese playlist

Genuinely, the music they play in the main eating space/cafe building is so weird. The playlist hasn’t been updated since 2019 and is guaranteed to catapult you back to some time before the pandemic. Who on earth wants to work while listening to Bad Guy by Billie Eilish?

It doesn’t live up to the Edinburgh aesthetic

Unfortunately, the biggest departments at Kings have the ugliest buildings in the city. It’s not quite as Instagram-worthy as George Square, but it gets the job done.

gorgeous x

We all think it’s better than central x

Once you’ve experienced studying on both campuses, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who prefers central. It’s so much less intimidating to study at King’s than at the main library – you don’t have to dress like a Euphoria extra to fit in, and you won’t get shouted at for scrunching your packet of wotsits too loudly. Plus, being violently jolted as far away from your flat as possible on the shuttle bus to KB means you’re far less likely to go home and fall asleep halfway through the day.

People don’t dress as well

See above about the awful commute. No wonder so many students rock up in hiking gear and with sturdy backpacks (if caught, all tote bag users are forced to transfer into a BA program). It’s a wonder any of us made it to campus, let alone made an effort to dress well.

Being able to see the fields and trees through the windows and having to worry way less about seeing every person you’ve ever met on the way to class certainly has its advantages. Despite all its flaws, Kings has a unique, unpretentious charm to it that is more than enough to sustain you through the soul-destroying four years of a science degree.

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