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Reasons to visit

Reading Room, RIBA British Architectural Library, 66 Portland Place


There are many reasons to visit the British Architectural Library and its collections - here are five of them:

1. Free access

Access to the RIBA and V&A is free, and everyone is welcome to use the Library collections (located at 66 Portland Place and the Victoria and Albert Museum). Both sites are open to the public and accessible to disabled users. Find out more about opening times and admissions policies of the collections before your visit.  

Main entrance, Victoria and Albert Museum

Copyright: British Architectural Library

2. The collections

The size and scope of the collections makes the Library one of the largest and most comprehensive architectural resources in the world. Amongst the four million items are large holdings of books, journals, photographs, drawings and archives. Free education programmes based on the collections are available to students.  

Material from the RIBA Library collections

Copyright: British Architectural Library

3. Research

The Library provides a quiet and peaceful environment for the study of architectural material. The team at the Library is made up of knowledgeable individuals - some are experts within the fields of architecture, art history, photography and conservation - who are available to help researchers make the most of the collections and answer any enquiries.

For those who are unable to visit, the team at the Information Centre can be contacted to answer any questions about architecture and architectural practice.  

Researchers in the Library

Copyright: British Architectural Library

4. Exhibitions and talks

Both sites are located at cultural institutions where permanent and temporary exhibitions exploring architecture and design are regularly held, often drawing upon material from the Library. 

The V&A + RIBA Architecture Gallery at the V&A is a permanent exhibition gallery of architecture, based on the collections of the RIBA and V&A.

Visitors to an exhibition in the Library

Copyright: British Architectural Library

5. The buildings

66 Portland Place is Grade II* listed and was completed in 1934. The building retains many original exterior and interior features such as the double-height Library. The building is open to the public and tours are available.

The Grade I listed V&A, a collection of mainly Victorian buildings, was built at different stages over the last 150 years. One of newest additions are the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms designed by Wright & Wright Architects. Find out more about the architectural history of the V&A in the Albertopolis online exhibition.  

Facade of 66 Portland Place

Copyright: British Architectural Library

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