Library news


Morris House, Stewart and Ardern Limited car showroom and service station, Staines, by night

Image from the Photographs Collection's publication 'Puttin' On the Glitz'
Image: Morris House, car showroom and service station, 1934
Copyright: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

January 2012

'Puttin' On the Glitz' book - out now

The result of the RIBA Library Photographs Collection's hugely successful exhibition 'Puttin' on the Glitz: The Golden Years of Art Deco Architecture in Britain', this book uses vintage photographs and drawings not seen in the recent exhibition to explore Art Deco architecture at its peak during the inter-war years in Britain. 

Normal opening hours resume

The Library is now operating normal opening hours. Details of future seasonal closures can be found online or please contact the Library. 


February 2012

Update: Outstore relocation

Please note that the RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections has recently relocated to a new, enhanced, purpose-made facility that has increased its previous storage capacity and will improve access to its holdings through onsite research appointments.

However, the collections are currently being audited and their new locations updated so access to the outstore materials is restricted.

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 process will cause to our users, but ask for your patience and understanding during this period. We look forward to reopening from the beginning of March 2012 and offering substantially improved access to the offsite collections.

Exhibitions: Home Season

From 16 February to 28 April 2012 the Library will be playing a significant part in a new season of exhibitions and events at the RIBA headquarters, 66 Portland Place. Using images from the RIBA Library Photographs Collection 'A Place to call Home' explores the history of housing in the UK and the evolution of how and where we live, while 'High Society' looks into five classic post-war, high-rise housing schemes from across the UK. Entry is free.  

See on RIBA Blogs the futuristic homes created by the architects of tomorrow during the Home Season's family activity day 'Your House, Your Home'.


March 2012

The Great Palaestra, Pompeii, 1959

Copyright: Edwin Smith / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

In memoriam: Robert Elwall (1953 - 2012)

Founder and Curator of the RIBA Library Photographs Collection, RIBApix and a very dear friend and colleague.

Closer Look talk: Ray Nathaniels

A talk by Kurt Helfrich, RIBA, on the Sri Lankan born, London-trained architect Ray James Holman Nathaniels (1920 - 2005) who spent 50 years designing elegant resort homes in the Bahamas, blending local materials within a modern architectural vocabulary. From 1 - 2pm on 20 March at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Free and no booking required.


April 2012

Park Hill Estate, Sheffield

Copyright: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Extended date: High Society

Due to popular demand, the exhibition in the Library has been extended to 9 June 2012. It will give the public another chance to see the Library's photographic material on high-rise, post war housing. Entry is free.

Easter: Seasonal closures

The Library, including the Information Centre and collections, will be closed from Good Friday 6 April to Easter Monday 9 April. Normal service and opening hours will resume from 10am on Tuesday 10 April.

Closer Look talk: A House to Call Home

Elizabeth Grant, RIBA, will look at how the work of William Chambers, C.F.A. Voysey, Ernö Goldfinger, Tecton and others expressed ideas about house and home. From 1 - 2pm on 10 April at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Free and no booking required. 


May 2012

George Thomson Building, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Copyright: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Exhibition: Cambridge in Concrete

Open between 3 - 25 May at the University of Cambridge is an exhibition of architectural photographs shot in the 1950s and 1960s. Based on images from the RIBA Library Photographs Collection, the display will stimulate the debate regarding a controversial period of architecture and to open up to the wider public the 'other Cambridge'. Admission is free. 

Bank Holiday Closure

The Library will be closed on Monday 7 May. The closure includes the Information Centre, the RIBA's collections and the Library's sites at 66 Portland Place (Reading Room) and Victoria and Albert Museum (RIBA Architecture Study Rooms). Normal service and opening hours resume on Tuesday 8 May.

Exhibition: King's Cross

This display from the V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership features original drawings, photographs, models, and film footage documenting the work by the lead architects John McAslan + Partners and engineer ARUP to transform London's King's Cross station for Network Rail. Open 19 May - 21 October and admission is free.

Workshop: Run, Jump, Shoot

On Saturday 19 May 1 - 5pm there will be a workshop, with RIBA Assistant Curator Justine Sambrook and freelance photographer Andy Day, exploring new ways of seeing and experiencing architecture through photography and the urban sport parkour. The event includes a visit to the RIBA's photographic archive and concludes with a hands-on session with professional parkour athletes.


June 2012

Design for the Great Hall, Euston Station, London, 1849

Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


Station to Station

1 - 2pm, Tuesday 19 June
RIBA curators Fiona Orsini and Jonathan Makepeace take a look at the 19th and 20th century architecture of railways stations. Free.

19th Century Highlights

6.30 - 7.30pm, Tuesday 26 June
Join RIBA curator Valeria Carullo and discover some of the gems of the Library's extensive collection of 19th century photographs at close hand. Free.

New colour scanner

Following a successful trial, a new colour scanner has been installed in the Library's Reading Room, RIBA, 66 Portland Place. This preservation-friendly machine is now available to all visitors. For environmental reasons printing from the scanner is not possible, but PDF files from any scanning session can be saved on to a memory stick. Users are welcome to bring their own memory stick or to purchase one from the enquiry desk.

Exhibition: The Villa Tugendhat

This exhibition in the Library celebrates the completion of the two-year restoration of Mies van der Rohe's Villa Tugendhat. 'The Villa Tugendhat in Context' is open 19 June - 24 August, admission is free. Accompanying the exhibition will be a talk and a student seminar.

Family workshop: Body Building

Through a series of body-based and sensory-driven activities, participants will recreate London's greatest landmarks using their arms, legs, hands and feet. This free event is suitable for families with children ages 5+. Saturday 30 June, 11am - 3pm.

Library closure: Spring Bank Holiday and Diamond Jubilee

All Library sites and services will be closed from Saturday 2 – Tuesday 5 June. Normal service and opening hours will resume at 10am Wednesday 6 June. Check our opening hours or contact the RIBA's main switchboard (tel: +44 (0)20 7580 5533) for the latest information before your visit.


August 2012

Seasonal closures

There will be temporary changes to the Library's opening hours during the summer due to essential maintenance and stocktaking. The Reading Room (66 Portland Place) will be closed between Saturday 25 August and Monday 10 September. Please note that the Reading Room and the Villa Tugendhat exhibition will not be open on Tuesday evenings (5-8pm) and Saturdays in August. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The RIBA Architecture Study Rooms (V&A) will be closed between Monday 13 and Monday 27 August.

All Library sites and services will be closed between Saturday 25 and Monday 27 August for the bank holiday weekend.


September 2012

Library reopens

The staff at the British Architectural Library would like to offer a warm welcome to all members of the public after the temporary summer closures. From Tuesday 11 September all of the Library's sites and services are operating normal opening hours.


October 2012

The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection

The Photographs Collection is being renamed on Tuesday 23 October 2012 in memory of its late curator. There will also be an accompanying exhibition, 'Robert Elwall: Building the Photographs Collection', in the Library's Reading Room from 23 October to 10 November 2012. 


November 2012

Colour in architecture exhibitions

Two new exhibitions from the RIBA and V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership will be opening in the Library's Reading Room at 66 Portland Place and in Room 128a at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 'The Polychrome Lens: Colour in Architectural Photography' is open from 16 November 2012 until 31 January 2013, while 'Chromazone: Colour in Contemporary Architecture' runs from 19 November 2012 until 19 May 2013. Admission to both is free.

Lasdun archive: catalogued and available to the public

The extensive archive of Denys Lasdun can now be seen in person at the Library and searched using the online catalogue. The archive, now open to everyone for research purposes, includes letters, drawings, models and photographs relating to Lasdun's completed and unbuilt projects.

Unavailability of ‘Basement’ material at 66 Portland Place

Part of the RIBA's collections will temporarily be unavailable. Between Tuesday 27 and Thursday 29 November 2012, any item listed in the online catalogue as being located in the 'Basement' will not be accessible to users. This is to allow for essential works to take place at 66 Portland Place and will affect the availability of some items from the Books and Periodicals Collection. Access to other items located elsewhere will remain unchanged and the Library's Reading Room (66 Portland Place) and Study Rooms (V&A) will open as normal during this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience.


December 2012

Christmas and New Year closure times

The Library and all its sites and services will be closed over Christmas and New Year. Temporary changes to normal opening hours will start on Monday 17 December 2012. The Library will reopen Wednesday 2 January 2013. Please check our opening hours page for more details.

RIBApix Christmas print offer

Until Tuesday 18th December 2012 (last posting date) there is 20% off all digital prints of any image from RIBApix. This is your opportunity to purchase a high quality digital print and either collect it in person if you are visiting the RIBA at 66 Portland Place, London, or have it posted to you in time for Christmas. 

Other news

For news from the rest of the RIBA go to News and Press.

Read about the latest activities of the Library and share your comments on RIBA Blogs

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