Reasons to visit

There are many reasons to visit us at the British Architectural Library and our collections – here are five of them.

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

Image: Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place

1. Free access

Access is free and everyone is welcome us at 66 Portland Place and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both are open to the public and we have friendly and knowledgeable staff there to help all visitors. Find out more about our opening times and admissions policies of the collections before your visit.  

display of material from the RIBA's collections

Image: Display of material from our collections

2. The collections

The size and scope of our 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 that anyone can see. If you can't get to us, why not explore images from our collections through RIBApix?

Students in Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

Image: Students sketching in the Reading Room

3. Learning

Our learning programme of activities and workshops based on the collections is available to children, families, students and adults throughout the year.  

We have two sites and both provide quiet and peaceful environments 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 us, the team at the Information Centre can be contacted by telephone or email to answer any questions about architecture and architectural practice. 

Bedford Lemere Exhibition, Room 128a, V&A+RIBA Architecture Gallery, V&A, London

Image: Bedford Lemere Exhibition, Room 128a, V&A+RIBA Architecture Gallery, V&A

4. Exhibitions and talks

Both sites are located at cultural institutions where exhibitions and talks 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. In 2014 the RIBA opened a new gallery space for temporary exhibitions at 66 Portland Place.

Guided building tour of the RIBA, 66 Portland Place

Image: Guided building tour of the RIBA, 66 Portland Place

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, and is open to the public. Building tours are available.

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

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