Picturing London

Bankside Power Station under construction, Southwark, 1951
Picturing London Imagining, experiencing and representing the metropolis.


By the start of the 20th century, London was the world's largest city and sprawling outwards with new development at an unprecedented rate. Exciting, overwhelming and
dangerous, people were both drawn to and repulsed by the city. Through the century,
London's urban landscape enticed architects to imagine improvements for city living while artists attempted to capture the complex realities of the urban capital. Together, the images in this online workshop give a glimpse into how individual architects and artists have dealt with the city over the course of the 20th century.


Guiding Questions

  • Why might architects and artists represent the city in different ways?
  • How do illustrators use atmosphere, ambiguity or association to their advantage?
  • Why were these images created, and who was the intended audience?


Architects' visions
The first images in this workshop highlight projects dealing with the complexity of envisioning new proposals for the city. These images show how architects and illustrators dealt with the city not only in a project's design, but also in its representation.



Artists' interpretations
The second series of images looks at poignant representations of the reality of life in 20th century London.



About the online workshops

'Picturing London' is one of several online workshops that explore different themes in architecture and are based on material from the collections of the RIBA British Architectural Library and Victoria and Albert Museum. Visit the collections in person or see them online at RIBApix and V&A Images. Workshops can be organised for visiting groups as part of the RIBA's collections-based education programme - contact the Education Curator for more information:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7307 3732
Email: library.education@riba.org


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