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 now temporary changes in access to some of our sites and collections at the British Architectural Library. 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 
    no access to offsite items until late spring/early summer 2015
  • Drawings and Archives Collections 
    RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, Henry Cole Wing, V&A 
    new access procedures in place until 2017 and no access to some items until late spring/early summer 2015
  • Photographs Collection 
    Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place   
    no access until late spring/early summer 2015
  • RIBA Nomination Papers (this may affect any biographical research requests)
    no access until late spring/early summer 2015

Books and Periodicals Collections  

Reduced access until late spring/early summer 2015

Including audiovisual material

Due to building work, some items from this collection have been moved and will not be accessible until late spring/early summer 2015 at the earliest. Please check via the online catalogue to see where the items you require are located, as this will affect its availability. Items temporarily unavailable:

  • Special Collections
  • items listed in the online catalogue with the locations: BASEMENT, BOX, Pamphlet or AV
  • items listed in the online catalogue with the location '77PP'



Drawings and Archives Collections 

No access to some of the Archives Collection until late spring/early summer 2015.

Due to building work Archive Collection materials with the call/ref numbers XMS, X(079)and ReAw/ are temporarily not available to our visitors, but full access will hopefully be restored by late spring/early summer 2015. Please check via the online catalogue to check the call/ref numbers of the items you require or contact us for more information and to book an appointment, as all viewings of material from the Drawings and Archives Collections are by advanced appointment only.

New access procedures in place until 2017 for Study Rooms, V&A

Until the end of May 2015, the RIBA Architecture 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.

No access to outstore material until late spring/early summer 2015

Due to building work the outstore will be severely restricted from January 5th until late Spring 2015. There will be no access for researchers to visit the outstore during this period and staff will be heavily restricted with the items that can be retrieved for viewing in the RIBA Study Rooms at the V&A. 



Robert Elwall Photographs Collection 

No access until late spring/early summer 2015

The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is currently closed to researchers. We hope to reopen in late Spring/early Summer 2015. 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