Student listening to recorded talks, RIBA Library


The RIBA British Architectural Library holds a large and varied collection of audiovisual (AV) material which includes:

  • audiocassettes
  • CDs and DVDs
  • minidiscs
  • tape/slides packs
  • VHS

Equipment to play older formats is available on request. Visitors to the Library's Reading Room (66 Portland Place) have access to Pidgeon Digital, a digitised collection of illustrated talks - RIBA members also have free online access.

What is held in the collection?

The Library holds recordings of talks and lectures given at the RIBA from the 1970s to the present day. Some of the earliest of these recordings include a talk dating from 1975 by architect Peter Yates and the RIBA Annual Discourse from 1976 given by Sir Hugh Casson. Among the more recent talks is one of Renzo Piano, recorded in June 2012 at the RIBA, discussing the story of the Shard.

The collection is updated regularly with new acquisitions, which are added to the online catalogue. Use the catalogue to discover what is in this collection. AV material is normally held in closed access areas and this will be indicated by the catalogue, but staff on the Library enquiry desk will be able to retrieve these items at short notice.

Online resources

There are also resources online from the RIBA and outside organisations:

  • Filmed talks
    Videos of talks held at the RIBA covering architecture, sustainability and education.
  • RIBA YouTube
    Videos covering events and campaigns at the RIBA and talks from curators based on the RIBA's collections.
  • National Life Stories (British Library)  
    The life stories, in their own words, of British artists and architects. The majority of the recordings online in this collection are available to Higher and Further Education institutions only.
  • Pigeon Digital
    A digitised collection of illustrated talks - RIBA members also have free online access.


Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London 


Access is free and available to the public during Reading Room opening hours, please bring photographic I.D. for admission.

AV material is available by advanced request only, please fill in the 'Closed Access Request form' and email the completed form to marking your email 'Closed Access Request' before your visit.    


To find out more about what AV material is held in the Library use the online catalogue. In the catalogue, under 'Advanced Search' enter a keyword or name and in the 'Format' field select 'AV'. Alternatively, contact the Library.


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