RIBA Photographs Collection renamed in honour of curator Robert Elwall

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is renaming its flagship Photographs Collection The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection on Tuesday 23 October 2012 in memory of its late curator.

The RIBA’s Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is one of the largest collections of architectural photography in the world. With a rich resource of over 1.5 million images featuring architecture, interior design, topography, landscape, construction and planning around the world, the collection covers pre-history to the present day in a wide-range of formats. The collection includes the work of acknowledged photographic masters such as Edwin Smith, Eric de Maré and Tony Ray-Jones; and the archives of 20th century architectural photographers including John Maltby, John Donat, Martin Charles and Henk Snoek.

Robert Elwall who passed away in March 2012 was a champion of architectural photography for over 30 years. Robert enjoyed a distinguished career as a curator, author, critic and lecturer. He built the RIBA’s Photographs Collection of over 1.5 million images, including the preservation of many important photographic archives previously at risk. In 2005, he created RIBApix, a digital image database that today has almost 70,000 images available to researchers and the public at large. Robert curated dozens of exhibitions exploring the relationship between architecture, photography and society in libraries, museums and galleries. The author of a dozen books, Robert cemented his reputation as an international authority in the field of architectural photography with his book Building With Light: the International History of Architectural Photography (2004). Robert contributed hundreds of articles, columns, reviews and, above all, little-known images to the media.

There will also be an accompanying exhibition, Robert Elwall: Building the Photographs Collection, curated by some of his friends and colleagues in the Photographs Collection, illustrating some of Robert’s many achievements with examples from the major archives he acquired for the RIBA as well as his books and other publications. The exhibition in the RIBA Library runs from 23 October to 10 November 2012.


Notes to editors

  • If you would like to attend the renaming event at 6.30pm on Tuesday 23 October please contact Beatrice Cooke at the RIBA on 020 7307 3813; or beatrice.cooke@inst.riba.org
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com
  • RIBApix, the RIBA’s digital image database is at www.ribapix.com