Library news


The Architectural Photography of Bedford Lemere & Co. exhibition

Entrance to the 'The Architectural Photography of Bedford Lemere & Co.' exhibition
Copyright: British Architectural Library 

February 2011

Adolf Loos Season

The Library is taking part in a major season of exhibitions and talks on the architect Adolf Loos. The exhibitions, including displays from the Library on the English influence on Loos's work and the role of the RIBA in saving his archive, will be open until 3 May 2011. Entry to the exhibitions is free. Follow the exhibition blog

Underground Journeys

This month is the last chance to see a display that examines the designs carried out by Charles Holden and his architectural practice, Adams Holden and Pearson for London Transport, undoubtly his greatest and most successful patron. At the Victoria and Albert Museum until 13 February. Explore the online version of this exhibition.


March 2011

Framing Modernism - architecture and photography in Italy 1926 - 1965

Following a successful run at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in 2009, the exhibition Framing Modernism will open at the MAXXI in Rome on 24 March.

Curated by the RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection and consisting of around 120 period photographs mostly drawn from its unique archive, the exhibition investigates how the development of Italian Modernist architecture was recorded and shaped by photography. It also looks at the part played by books and magazines such as Domus and Casabella in fostering this striking visual exploration.

'Inquadrare il Moderno. Architettura e Fotografia in Italia 1926 - 1965' is open until 22 May 2011. 


May 2011

The photographs of Edwin Smith

In collaboration with the Moray Art Centre, this exhibition examines the work of Edwin Smith whose archive is held by the RIBA. It shows how Smith's subtle monochrome photography reflects the timeless aesthetics of native building materials and techniques. A selection of Smith's drawings and paintings are also on display.

The exhibition is open until 2 July 2011. Admission is free. 

George Aitchison, Leighton's architect revealed

This is the first exhibition in over 30 years to explore Aitchison's career and includes a number of his interior designs described as 'amongst the most exquisite and colourful 19th century architectural drawings in existence'. The majority of the drawings on display are from the RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections.

The exhibition is open at the Leighton House Museum until 31 July 2011. 


June 2011

The architectural photography of Bedford Lemere & Co. 1870 - 1930

This exhibition reveals the work of Bedford Lemere & Co., which, through their pioneering photography, became the leading English firm of architectural photographers, setting the standards for those that followed. Material comes from the collections of English Heritage and the RIBA, which between them hold most of the firm's surviving work. Photographs of the exhibition and private view can be seen on RIBA Blogs.

The exhibition is open at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 30 October 2011. Admission is free. 

The photography of Eric de Maré

Eric de Maré was one of Britain's most influential architectural photographers. An exhibition of his work has opened as part of the Architecture Festival 2011. The display draws on material from the RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection, and explores his work and highlights how he broadened the perception of where architecture was to be found. Read the exhibition blog from the curators of the Photographs Collection.

The exhibition is open in Liverpool until 2 October 2011. Admission is free. 


August 2011

Closure during August

There will be temporary changes to the Library's normal opening hours:

  • Library, 66 Portland Place

(Reading Room, Photographs, Books and Periodicals Collections)
The Photographs Collection will be closed to visitors, but will continue to answer enquiries received by email and telephone and to handle orders for images.

1.30pm, Saturday 30 July - Monday 15 August closed
10am Tuesday 16 August reopens


  • RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum

(Drawings and Archives Collections)

5pm, Friday 12 - Monday 29 August                   closed    
10am, Tuesday 30 August reopens


  • Information Centre

During the closure period the Library and Information Centre will continue to answer enquiries. The Public and Members Information Lines will operate as normal. 

  • Loan Library and reprographics services

Although the Loan Library will be closed to visitors, members can request material to be posted to them or made available for collection. 

Reprographic services will continue to operate. 

September 2011

Drawings and Archives Collections outstore relocation

Please note that the RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections outstore is relocating to a new, enhanced, purpose-made facility that will increase its current storage capacity and improve access to holdings through onsite research appointments.

From 1 September to 1 October 2011 there will be limited access to outstore materials, with no access at all to materials between 1 October 2011 and 30 January 2012.

As significant portions of the Drawings and Archives Collections are held at the outstore, it is essential before making research or travel plans that visitors check directly with our staff the location of the material they wish to see.

The Drawings and Archives team can be contacted by telephone on +44 (0)20 7307 3708 (phone line open Tuesday - Friday, 10am - 5pm), or by email at drawings& and they will be happy to assist with your enquiry.

We are aware of the inconvenience that the relocation will cause our users, but ask for your patience and understanding during this period. We look forward to reopening in February 2012 and offering substantially improved access to the offsite collections.

Keep up to date with the progress of the move on RIBA Blogs

Open House London

The RIBA will be taking part in Open House London with a range of free events, including activities for children, at its headquarters. On 17 September, 66 Portland Place will be opened up to the public and staff from the Library will be leading tours of the building. There will be displays of original material, normally not on show to the public, from the Library's collections.


October 2011

Extended opening hours on Tuesdays 

The Library, as of 4 October 2011 and for a six-month trial period, will extend the opening hours of its Reading Room at 66 Portland Place on Tuesdays as part of the RIBA's Tuesday Lates programme.

Excluding advertised seasonal and bank holiday closures, the Library will open each Tuesday from 10am to 8pm. We will be monitoring visitor uptake during the course of the trial and are keen to receive any feedback about the new opening hours.

Whether you are a regular or an occasional Library visitor, we hope you will take advantage of the newly extended hours to come and enjoy our collections. If you have never used the Library before, a Tuesday evening visit could be the perfect time to start. The Library is open to all, free of charge, and a team of friendly and informed staff is available to help you. There are many reasons to visit the Library and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Art Deco

A season of events from the Library begins this month celebrating Art Deco architecture. 'Puttin' on the Glitz' explores Art Deco architecture in Britain at its peak during the inter-war years, using vintage photographs from the RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection. 'Art Deco Triumphant' looks at the influence of the exhibition in Paris during 1925 that gave the movement its name and launched the style onto the world stage. There will also be a talk by the exhibition curator on 15 November.

The two exhibitions are open 1 October - 26 November 2011. Admission is free. 


November 2011

Opening hours over Christmas and New Year

The opening hours of the Library over the Christmas and New Year period are now online. From Wednesday 21 December 2011 there will be changes to the availability and normal opening hours of Library services and collections. Normal hours will resume on Tuesday 3 January 2012.

Extended dates for Art Deco exhibitions

Due to popular demand, 'Art Deco Triumphant' has been extended and will now close on 21 December 2011. This exhibition can be seen in the Library's Reading Room. 'Puttin' on the Glitz' in Gallery 2 will be open until 29 November. Both are at 66 Portland Place and  admission is free.


Drawing on previously unseen objects from the V&A and RIBA collections, Albertopolis charts the development of South Kensington and the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter from 1851 to the present day.

Open 26 November 2011 - 29 April 2012 at the V&A. Admission is free.


December 2011

RIBApix unavailable 27 December 2011 - 3 January 2012

We regret that due to essential electrical works at 66 Portland Place the RIBA Library's online database RIBApix will be unavailable between 27 December 2011 and 3 January 2012 and we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Please note that the Library online catalogue will still be available for reference over this period.

RIBApix - Christmas offer

This month between 1 December and Christmas there is 20% off the normal price on all digital prints purchased from RIBApix, where images from the collections of the Library can be viewed online. These high-quality digital prints can be collected in person from the headquarters of the RIBA at 66 Portland Place, London, or posted to you in time for Christmas.

Students will receive 50% off the normal price.

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