Urban Adventures

Claude Flight: 'Speed'
Urban Adventures The changing form of the city

Image: © Victoria and Albert Museum


Adding to the concentration of buildings in a city can be an exhilarating or exhausting challenge for any architect. Cities require architects to be skillful and practice on different scales, from small interiors to large public spaces and from street furniture to new towns.

The city has a long history. The earlier civilisations of the Mesopotamians and Romans were based around large metropolises. Renaissance and Baroque architects created elegant works to beautify their cities. 19th century architects and governments attempted to add order to the growing slums and suburbs. By the 20th century, planners produced an increasingly broad range of ideas for the design of cities; some of their ideas have been realised, while others were never practical or fell victim to changes in economic conditions and government policy. A few designs were never intended to be anything more than thought provoking. Today, the majority of the world's population now resides in urban areas.

Find out from this workshop's selection of drawings, engravings and photographs about the how the city was depicted and the changing ideas about its form and function.  


Guiding Questions

  • How have ideas about designing cities changed over time?
  • How can urban development be represented in drawings, engravings, models and photographs?



About the online workshops

'Urban Adventures' is one of several online workshops that explores different themes in architecture and is based on material from the collections of the RIBA and the V&A. 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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