18 MAY – 29 AUGUST 2016


At Home in Britain re-examines how we live and speculates on the future of housing in Britain. Taking the cottage, the terraced house and the flat as a starting point and using RIBA Collections as stimulus, six newly commissioned works from contemporary architecture practices Jamie Fobert ArchitectsMaeMaison Edouard FrançoisMecanoo, Studio Weave and vPPR transform these three familiar housing types to reflect the way we live and work in the 21st century.

A BBC and RIBA partnership

The season will be accompanied by a three-part BBC4 television series, presented by Dan Cruickshank, looking at the history of the cottage, terrace and flat.

Oxford Film and Television


18 May to 29 August 2016
Monday - Sunday 10am to 5pm
Tuesdays 10am to 8pm


The Architecture Gallery,

RIBA, 66 Portland Place,

London, W1B 1AD


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Exhibition sponsored by

Ideal Standard
In partnership with:
The Open University

Reimagining the cottage, the terraced house and the flat

We have chosen a combination of UK based and international practices to speculate on the future of British housing. The six practices have been set a design brief asking them to reimagine the cottage, terraced house or flat and given a curated selection of drawings and photographs from the RIBA Collection to inspire their responses.

Jamie Fobert Architects

Jamie Fobert Architects

Jamie Fobert Architects is a London based practice, nominated four times for the RIBA House of the Year Award. Their response to the design brief looks at the cottage in a rural setting in Yorkshire. The proposal highlights the importance of the garden and takes inspiration from Alison and Peter Smithson’s Fold House. The cottage was traditionally an affordable, self- built dwelling for the working class, but has since been romanticised as a luxury home. JFA’s response examines housing density and asks how the generous footprint of the cottage can be justified in today’s difficult housing market.

Maison Edouard François

Maison Edouard François

Edouard François is a Parisian architect renowned for his radical, yet sustainable designs. His response to the challenge of reimagining the cottage focuses on a site close to Orly Airport on the outskirts of Paris. The suburban site is a sprawl of detached houses, which were formerly homes for Air France workers. His proposal advocates reuse by transforming the existing houses into low-rise apartment blocks and demonstrates the importance of individuality in an increasingly developer-driven mass housing market. Like all of Maison Edouard François’ work, the scheme is heavily informed by the surrounding topography and is respectful of the environment and history of the site at the same time as pushing the boundaries of contemporary architecture.


Led by Alex Ely, Mæ is a London-based architectural practice with a respected body of residential work alongside published research in housing, including the London Housing Design Guide. The terraced house is often read as a row of identical dwellings, but Mæ have unpicked this to show the terrace as a linear collection of individual homes. They have highlighted material from the RIBA Collection that shows designs for second-rate and fourth-rate terraced housing. These designs would have been part of a pattern book of rated housing for developers to choose from according to the size of the plot that they were building on. Mæ's interactive display allows visitors to imagine their own custom-built home, suited to their own lifestyle and budget.



vPPR was founded by Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease and Jessica Reynolds in 2009. Their success has recently been recognised, with Vaulted House shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year Award 2015. This land-locked housing scheme was an example of how the traditional layout of a house can be altered to make the most of its surroundings. vPPR have applied this imaginative approach to the terrace design brief by experimenting with the party wall. Their proposal asks whether this shared wall between adjacent houses can be manipulated to create new communal spaces within a row of terraces, rather than acting as a division between neighbours.



Mecanoo is a Dutch practice led by Francine Houben and known for imaginative housing designs, which have revolutionised social housing in the Netherlands. Partner, Dick van Gameren has taken on the challenge of reimagining the flat. His response is informed by his in-depth research into the RIBA Collection, through which he has discovered photographs and drawings of communal spaces in London’s mansion blocks. His design takes the elements shown in drawings and photographs from the RIBA Collection and creates a mansion block for the 21st century. Demonstrated through a large model, the proposal focuses on the communal spaces within a block of flats, including shared recreational areas for students, families and the elderly.

Studio Weave 

Studio Weave

Founded in 2006, Studio Weave is an architecture practice that works on multidisciplinary projects with a playful approach. Their portfolio ranges from speculative design to public realm installations, such as their pavilion, Smith, shortlisted for the RIBA Small Projects Award 2015. Studio Weave has used the flat design brief to investigate the appeal of co-housing and communal living. In a provocative display of promotional material, they have researched how certain ways of living have been sold to us over the past century. Following this, they speculate on future housing trends and suggest how the flat might be sold to us in 2025.

Highlights - Talks & Events


Exhibition Tours of At Home in Britian

Join the architects featured in the 'At Home in Britain' exhibition, as they describe their approach to designing a house for tomorrow. Followed by a gallery tour with curators Justine Sambrook and Anna Holsgrove.

find out more

Summer Workshops

Kids turning the house upside down? Get your budding architects and designers to RIBA! Make our house your home this summer with a season of workshops and family programmes inspired by At Home in Britain.


House Party

Join us for a day of fun as we celebrate the Great British Home through great music, dance and – of course – lots of building!
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A BBC and RIBA partnership

Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British

a BBC Four series

From medieval cottages and Victorian terraces to high-rise flats, Dan Cruickshank looks at our everyday surroundings that tell a remarkable story.

The Open University in partnership with RIBA

The Open University in partnership with RIBA

Find out more about design, living environments, interiors, and the home with The Open University.


Explore our selection of cottage images on RIBApix

View additional images of cottages from the RIBApix collection which are available to download, purchase or licence.