Past exhibitions


Design Stories: The Architecture Behind 2012

25 June - 25 September 2012
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

In Summer 2012 the world came together in London and celebrated the best Olympic and Paralympic Games ever - an event that has redefined what hosting the games can mean.

Design Stories examined the architecture and engineering behind the key London 2012 venues that made it all possible. It included drawings, videos, a giant mural and ten amazingly detailed models depicting the city's new temporary and permanent sporting landmarks. 

Design Stories was part of the official London 2012 Festival.


Design Stories Mural 2012
© RIBA. Design by Dan Bissonnet


The Villa Tugendhat In Context

19 June - 24 August 2012
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

The Villa Tugendhat designed by Mies van der Rohe in
1928 - 1930 is one of the finest examples of modernism in Europe. This exhibition celebrated the completion of its two-year restoration and featured material from the RIBA's collections, which placed this remarkable glass and steel hillside villa in the context of Mies van der Rohe's work elsewhere in Europe and America.

Discover more at the Villa Tugendhat Online Exhibition.


The Villa Tugendhat 
© David Zidlicky 


Contemporary Norwegian Architecture

12 April - 15 June 2012
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

This exhibition explored the work of Ramstad Architects and Jensen & Skodvin Architects - two of Norway's foremost young practices today - through richly detailed models and images. It highlighted rural contemporary Norwegian architecture and key projects of the National Tourist Routes scheme - a landmark initiative that brought together multiple agencies to promote tourism, landscape and architecture through a series of unique interventions.

Produced in collaboration with the Embassy of Norway

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National Tourist Route project. © Reiulf Ramstad Arkitektkontor


A Place to Call Home: Where We Live & Why

16 February - 28 April and 15 June - 9 September
RIBA, London & Mann Island, Liverpool

This hugely popular RIBA exhibition, guest curated by Sarah Beeny, charted a 200-year story looking at the design and appeal of everyday homes in the UK.

It explored the advent of mass building from the late 18th century, through to the present day via industrialisation, suburban expansion and post-war estates- revealing the characteristics of a British obsession and the experiments that have shaped how and where we live.

Discover more at the A Place to Call Home Online exhibition - Coming soon!


Alton East Estate, London 
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection


High Society

16 February - 9 June 2012
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

Using vintage imagery from the RIBA's collections, this exhibition explored five classic post-war high-rise housing schemes from across the UK, including; The Alton Estate -Roehampton, Churchill Gardens- Pimlico, Park Hill - Sheffield, Hutchesontown - Glasgow and Thamesmead - London.

Complementing A Place to Call Home: Where We Live and Why, it explored in detail the intense period of experimentation and architectural daring that coloured the British post-war years.


Park Hill Estate, Sheffield
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection


Albertopolis: The Development of South Kensington and the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter

26 November 2011 - 29 April 2012
V&A, Cromwell Road London

Drawing on previously unseen objects and images, this display charted the development of South Kensington and the Exhibition Road Cultural Quarter from its origins in 1851 and the legacy of the Great Exhibition to the present day.

It focused on how the site became the focus and architectural embodiment of Prince Albert's ambitious cultural aspirations. 

Discover more about the eclectic buildings and history of this unique part of London in the Albertopolis Online Exhibition.

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V&A by Sir Aston Webb 
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collection  


Art Deco Triumphant: The Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris 1925 

1 October - 21 December 2011
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

The ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in Paris was the exhibition that gave Art Deco its name and launched the style onto the world stage. Using photos, prints and contemporary publications, this display looked at the key pavilions and exhibits that defined the style of 1925 and illustrated its emphasis on modernity and a new age of consumption.

Explore more about this display at the Art Deco Triumphant Online Exhibition

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Ambassade Francaise, Paris 1925 © RIBA Library Photographs Collection 


Puttin' On The Glitz: The Golden Years of Art Deco Architecture in Britain

1 October - 29 November 2011
RIBA, 66 Portland Place Londo

This exhibition explored Art Deco architecture at its peak during the inter-war years. Art Deco was often applied to transient building types such as shops and restaurants, tending to obscure how ubiquitous a style it was. This exhibition sought to redress the balance by displaying not only classics such as Odeon cinemas, but also lesser known buildings such as Conchita Supervia's flat in Lowndes Square, London and a fish & chip shop in Sunderland.

Discover more about the Art Deco's origins in the Art Deco Triumphant Online Exhibition or bowse hundreds of amazing archival images at RIBApix


Showroom & sevice station, Staines. © Architectural Press Archive/RIBA Library Photographs Collection. 


The Exploring Eye: The Photgraphy of Eric de Mare

17 June - 2 October 2011
Mann Island, Liverpool

Eric de Maré, 1910 - 2002, was one of Britain's most influential architectural photographers. This exhibition, explored how he broadened the perception of where architecture was to be found. A prolific contributor to the Architectural Review, de Maré was fascinated by Britain's neglected industrial heritage. His book, The Functional Tradition in Early Industrial Buildings, suggested how warehouses buildings could inspire architects rebuilding post-war Britain.

Find out more about this exhibition at RIBA Blogs

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Quayside, Albert Dock, Liverpool. © Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection


Recording the New: The Architectural Photography of Beford Lumere & Co 1870 - 1930

4 June - 2 October 2011
V&A, Cromwell Road London

Produced in collaboration with English Heritage, this exhibition revealed the work of Bedford Lemere & Co a company who set new standards in photography. The firm’s customers included architects, industrialists and retailers, who were all keen to exploit the new medium of photography to record and promote their business. Among the exhibits were around a camera and album used by the firm and around 50 prints depicting many well known landmarks. 

View image of the exhibition online at RIBA Blogs


Admiralty Arch and the Mall, London in 1920's.
© English Heritage


Framing Modernism: Architecture & Photography in Italy 1926 - 1965

24 March - 22 May 2011

This collaboration between MAXXI and the RIBA, explored the development of Italian Modernist architecture from 1926 to 1965. Featuring over 120 period photographs drawn from the RIBA collections, it charted how the development of Italian Modernism was recorded and shaped by photography and looked at the important role contemporary books and magazines, such as 'Domus' and 'Casabella', played in fostering this striking visual exploration and new style.

Further images and reviews of this exhibition can be seen be accessed via RIBA Blogs

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Artist's house and studio, Milan 1933. © Architectural Press Archive/RIBA Library Photographs Collection


Learning to Dwell: Adolf Loos in the Czech Lands

24 February - 3 May 2011
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London

A few months after the date that marked 140 years since his birth and 100 years after the realisation of one of his greatest works – the Looshaus - this exhibition looked at the work of the Austrian architect Adolf Loos. Featuring a range of never before seen materials and objects including furniture, orginal drawings and models drawn from archives across Europe, it celebrated the key works and legacy of this pioneering architect and noted polemicist.  

Discover more about this at the Adolf Loos Online Exhibition.


The Villa Müller, Prague 1928-1930. © City of Prague Museum 1993.


Underground Journeys: Charles Holden's Designs for London Underground

2 October 2010 - 13 February 2011
V&A, Cromwell Road London

This exhibition looked at Charles Holden's designs for London Transport - undoubtly his greatest and most successful patron. From iconic stations on the Northern and Piccadilly Lines through to his creation of a new headquarters at 55 Broadway, Holden’s relationship with London Transport’s chief executive, Frank Pick was instrumental in shaping London Transport’s brand and the identity of its underground network.

Discover more about this at the Underground Journeys Online Exhibition


New headquarters buildings at 55 Broadway, London 1929. © RIBA Library Drawings Collection. 


Gargoyles and Shadows: Gothic Architecture and 19th Century Photography

7 January - 16 May 2010
V&A, Cromwell Road London

Drawing on the V&A's rich holdings of 19th century photographs, this display examined the relationship between photography and architectural practice in the 19th century and explores how photography facilitated the rediscovery of an idealised past. It also addressed the role played by photography in the recording of buildings before demolition and its use as a tool for preserving the national architectural heritage.

Browse hundreds of Gothic images at RIBApix


Westminster, Henry VII Chapel Exterior and Westminster Hall © Victoria and Albert Museum


Three Classicists

6 - 29 May
RIBA, 66 Portland Place Londo

This exhibition featured drawings and objects submitted by three young practitioners, all with a passion for classical architecture and draughtsmanship.

Ben Pentreath, George Saumarez Smith and Francis Terry drawings of built works ranging in scale from new urban settlements to full size decorative ornament, demonstrated their shared belief in the strength of a classical language of architecture and the importance of drawing in the modern world.


Three Classicists exhibition at RIBA. © RIBA 


Palladio & His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey

2 April 2010 - 31 December 2011
Multiple venues, USA

Exploring the life and work of one of the most influential architects in history, this exhibition revealed the indelible mark Andrea Palladio (1508–80) left on American architecture. Palladio drew inspiration from classical architecture, crafting a new style that met the functional and aesthetic demands of his age. This landmark exhibition charted his development alongside the enormous impact he had on the architecture of the USA, resulting in new original interpretations ranging from grand formal buildings to smaller utilitarian structures.

Discover more about who Palladio was, his work and legacy at the Andrea Palladio Online Exhibition


Design for the Villa Repeta, Andrea Palladio.

© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collection