Reduced access to the collections until 2017

Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place.

Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

British Architectural Library

Due to building work at 66 Portland Place and the Victoria and Albert Museum, there are temporary changes in access to some of our sites and collections. Visitors are advised to check our website for updates or to contact us. We apologise for the inconvenience, but over 80,000 images from our collections are always available from our image library at RIBApix.

The following are affected: 

  • Books and Periodicals Collections (including audiovisual material)
    Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place 
    reduced access to offsite items until autumn 2014
  • Photographs Collection 
    Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place   
    reduced access until early 2015

Books and Periodicals Collections  

Reduced access until autumn 2014

Including audiovisual material

Due to building work, some offsite items from this collection have been moved and will be available by appointment only or will not be accessible. We hope to restore full access by autumn 2014. Check the Library's online catalogue for the locations of items before your visit. Affected locations and their current availability are listed below.

  • advanced appointment for 77 Portland Place, BASEMENT, BOX, Pamphlet or AV locations
  • special request (due to conservation reasons) for SP-COLL location
  • no access (due to gragility of material) for HANDLEY-READ location

Items with locations listed as 77 Portland Place, BASEMENT, BOX, Pamphlet or AV (analogue audiovisual items are not available due to conservation reasons) are available to visitors via the Library's Reading Room, 66 Portland Place. These items are stored offsite and are collected once a week by staff on Thursdays; the deadline for requests each week is 5pm on Wednesdays. Please fill in the 'Closed Access Request form' and email the completed form to us at , marking your email 'Closed Access Request'.

PDF Closed Access Request form (PDF version)
File size: 330kB

Word Closed Access Request form (Word version)
File size: 58kB

Drawings and Archives Collections 

New access procedures in place until 2017

Until the end of January 2015, the Study Rooms and the Drawings and Archives Collections will be closed every Thursday. 

Also, until 2017, due to construction work being carried out at the V&A on the new Exhibition Road gallery, café and shop, access to both the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms and the Drawings and Archives Collections will be restricted and will only be by advanced appointment only (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). To make a booking, please contact us on:

Email: drawings&  
Phone: +44 (0)20 7307 3708 (phone line open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 5pm)

Before your visit

As well as booking an appointment, we will need to know what day you plan to visit, along with details of the material you wish to view, including the call reference(s).

On site

Once an appointment has been arranged, researchers will be collected and escorted into the building at 10.15am and 2.15pm. There will be a morning or afternoon appointment (with the opportunity to work through the whole day). The Meeting Point for the collections is the landing space ouside the National Art Library, level 3. Researchers can bring their coats and bags with them to the Study Rooms where coat racks and lockers will be available. Please note, there is some stairs on route so please let us know in advance if you have any access requirements. If you arrive later than these times, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to arrange for you to be collected on demand as this depends on staff availability. However, if you know that you are unable to arrive for these times, please contact us in advance.

The Study Rooms will close for lunch between 1pm and 2.15pm. Visitors will be escorted out at 1pm and those who have booked an all-day session can join the afternoon collection at 2.15pm to be escorted back in. The Study Rooms close at 5pm. If you need to leave the Study Rooms outside of these times, please let us know on the day and we can arrange for you to be escorted back to the public areas of the museum.


There will be several retrieval times on the day for material. However, depending on the nature of the material, we may have to restrict the amount. As a guideline, researchers can request up to five items (e.g. boxes or folders) per retrieval.


Unfortunately there may be considerable noise from the works during this period in the Study Rooms. We apologise for this and any other inconvenience caused with the new access and operational procedures and thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation. These procedures will be reviewed and updated on a periodic basis, so before travelling please confirm current details by checking our information on admissions or phoning the Study Rooms on +44 (0)20 7307 3708.


Robert Elwall Photographs Collection 

Reduced access until early 2015

Access and viewing appointments to the Photographs Collection is limited as most of the collection is being temporarily stored at an offsite location due to building work. This material will return to 66 Portland Place in early 2015, after which normal access will be restored. Anyone with specific queries about the Photographs Collection should contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0)20 7307 3710/3684  (phone line open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm) 


Posted on Tuesday 17th June 2014