Architectural historian, architect and archaeologist; specialist in ancient excavations, and medieval German architecture. Adler attended the Berlin Kunstakademie beginning in 1841. In 1846 he continued at the University of Berlin (Bauakademie). From 1854 he taught there under Ferdinand von Arnim (1814-1856) and from 1859 as a Dozent for the history of architecture. He was made professor at the Akademie in 1861 succeeding in the position previously held by Wilhelm Lübke.