Architect, particularly noted for his design of country houses. Adam was born near Kirkcaldy and was the father of the architects James (1732-94), John (1721-92) and Robert Adam (1728-92). He developed the style of English architect Sir John Vanbrugh (1664 - 1726), with whom he worked on Floors Castle (1718). Adam's most impressive work was perhaps Hopetoun House near South Queensferry (1721).
His wife, Mary, was a daughter of William Robertson, his partner in a brick and tile works, one of several entrepreneurial interests of his early career. Adam purchased the estate of Blair Crambeth, near Kelty, which he renamed Blair Adam. The Adam family also had a house in Edinburgh on what is now Chambers Street and Adam House, part of the University of Edinburgh, now stands on the site.
William Adam is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, in a mausoleum designed by his son John.