Talks and Events

Last Tuesday: High-Tech!

25 March 2014

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM


66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD


In the 1970s a new dawn in architecture was christened 'High Tech'. Rejecting the wet and messy world of bricks and concrete, it was an approach to building with an eye on the future.

From factory buildings across Europe, the HSBC Bank in Hong Kong and the Lloyds Building in London, it was an approach that revelled in modern materials, engineering and structural daring and where air ducts, service cores, as much as steel trusses and cross-braces, became part of the visual articulation of a building. But where did this style come from and what inspired its creation?

RIBA charts the diverse origins and landmarks of High Tech with an evening of talks, film and events devoted to high performance and high drama!


  • Drop –in Workshop
    'Plug-in city'                                                    
    6 - 8pm
    Taking inspiration from Archigram's 'tech' filled mega-structures and plug-in city designs, add your own designs for plug-in, never-ending mega-cities to a vast hand-drawn skyline circling the Florence Hall. Materials provided. 
  • Film
    'Basic his own voice and words'        
    From 6pm (loop 32 mins)                                  
    Discover more about engineer and futurist Buckminster Fuller and the ideas, synergy, energy and geometry that influenced a generation of British architects and a 'less is more' approach to architecture. A film by Academy Award Winner Robert Snyder courtesy of Masters & Masterworks
  • Film
    'The Brits Who Built the Modern World - Influences and Breakthroughs'
    From 6pm (loop 15 mins)
    Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw and Michael and Patty Hopkins on the Festival of Britain, America, the Reliance Factory, 125 Park Road and the Hopkins House. Taken from the new BBC series. Courtesy of Oxford Film & Television. 
  • Talk 
    'Engineering Drama - 19th Century High Tech'         
    6.30pm (30 mins)
    Advancements in the technology of iron and steel during the 19th century radically transformed architectural design. Engineers played a crucial role in the development of new forms and structures that came to influence architects both in Europe and the United States. Photographs curator Valeria Carullo explores the engineering feats of the 'iron age' with images from the RIBA Library’s world-class collections.
  • Talk
    'High Tech’s Post-war Origins'
    19.15 (30mins)
    In the post-war years a generation of British Architects found inspiration in new places, products and techniques. From American industrial design, space craft and pop culture, architectural writer and historian Colin Davies, charts the diverse post-war journey of High Tech.
  • Talk
    'High Tech Thoroughbreds'                                      
    20.00 (30mins)
    Braced, suspended, cantilevered and stretched in new shapes and at new heights, High Tech’s landmark structures took the world by storm at home and abroad. The Twentieth Century charts the high points of the style that caused controversy wherever it went and its legacy today. 
  • Exhibitions
    The Brits Who Built the Modern World:
    1950 - 2012 
    The Architecture Gallery
    Discover a global story of British architecture and how a generation ushered in its transformation in the post-war years.

    New British Works: today - Tomorrow
    First Floor Gallery
    A look at new British architecture around the world and, with guest contributors, an exploration of what makes British creativity such a potent force today.
  • Building Tours
    Discover 66 Portland Place
    6.30 and 7pm (approximately 30 mins)
    Join us for an intimate tour of RIBA HQ. Our tour guide will reveal the history and stunning 1930s design of 66 Portland Place.
  • Live Music
    Florence Hall, 6 - 9pm

Part of a season of exhibitions and events inspired the BBC series The Brits Who Built the Modern World #BritsExhibition 


All events free of charge.
Events on first come basis.


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British Pavilion, Expo '92, Seville, by night ©

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