RIBA launches Ideas to Change British Architecture season

Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture
? Exhibition at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1 (26 February - 27 April 2013)
? Accompanying talks, debates and special events

Should Amsterdam-style floating homes be built in London’s Docklands? Could the UK learn from Brazil’s successful identikit school-building programme?  Could Belfast be redeveloped by following a Berlin model? Including the Venice Biennale exhibition ‘Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture’, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in collaboration with the British Council and the Architectural Association, will host an exhibition and a season of special events that offer architectural inspiration from beyond UK shores.

The feature exhibition showcases UK architectural talent through ten exceptional international research projects. The projects illustrate how architecture has shaped the culture and economy of countries around the world.


Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture
26 February - 27 April 2013
Gallery 1, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1

Charting a course that takes in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and the USA, Venice Takeaway presents the work of ten architecture teams that travelled the world in search of inspiration. The featured projects are:

- aberrant architecture on the successful Brazilian use of prefabricated primary schools designed by Oscar Niemeyer
- Smout Allen and BLDGBLOG on learning from Los Angeles to create a British Exploratory Land Archive to record land use in the UK
- Ross Anderson and Anna Gibb on the ‘Paper Architects’ of 1980s Moscow who found an outlet for their imagination despite restrictions on building
- Darryl Chen on parallels between the UK and China, focusing on a Beijing suburban village
- dRMM on a floating community in Amsterdam that has thrived under an advanced culture of planning, procurement and design
- Forum for Alternative Belfast on an ambitious and visionary urban renewal project in 1970/80s Berlin involving international architects
- Public works, Urban Projects Bureau and Owen Pritchard on the creation of their new ‘Open Charter’ aimed to challenge, clarify and act upon critical issues that determine the role of the architect in the UK
- Elias Redstone who investigated Fideicomiso in Argentina, a legal trust enabling architects to fund their own projects, without a developer
- Liam Ross and Tolulope Onabolu who travelled to Lagos to look at the impact of risk and regulation on design
- Takero Shimazaki/Toh Shimazaki Architecture on what the UK can learn from the work of Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa and her ability to connect with the public

International Exchanges - talks at the RIBA, Architectural Association School of Architecture and more

#1. The Dutch Way: From Houseboat to Water House
Tuesday 26 February 6.00pm – 7.30pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London £9 & £6.50 concession
From Buckminster Fuller’s Triton City to Kiyonori Kikutake's Marine City, living on water has long exercised designers’ imagination, but are water based communities becoming a realistic proposition rather than just a utopian dream? Chaired by Vicky Richardson – British Council with Alex de Rijke – dRMM, Sjoerd Soeters – Soeters van Eldonk, Ijburg and Mike Luddy – Royal Docks
Management Authority.

#2. Architect Explorers: Land Use Taxonomy /Landscape Transformation
Thursday 28 Feb 6.00pm – 7.30pm
Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square London, free to attend
What is the British Exploratory Land Archive (BELA)? How can architects learn from the landscape? Inspired by Los Angeles, Smout Allen and Geoff Manaugh outline proposals for exploring and mapping the UK with fresh eyes and new potential.

#3. Itsuko Hasegawa: Ordinary and Heroic
Wednesday 6 March, 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square London, free to attend
Known for kicking against the grain of architectural fashion, Itsuko Hasegawa reveals the drivers behind her work and explores the notion of design leadership in difficult times.

#4. Fideicomiso! Putting Architecture at the Heart of Housing
Tuesday 23 April 6.30pm - 7.30pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London £9 & £6.50 concession
In Argentina, 'Fideicomiso' enables the development of housing by groups of people working as clients direct with architects. How could it be applied in the UK? Part of a housing futures Double Bill. Chaired by Alastair Donald – British
Council with curator Elias Redstone, Sebastian Adamo – Adamo Faiden architects, Buenos Aries; Dickon Robinson – Chair of Building Futures and David Kohn. Supported by the Argentine Embassy.

#5. Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA): Berlin and Belfast
Tuesday 23 April 7.45pm – 8.45pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London £9 & £6.50 concession
The IBA in West Berlin was a far-sighted urban renewal project completed in 1987. Would an international building exhibition be the best way to deliver better quality architecture in the UK? Part of a housing futures Double Bill.
Chaired by Vicky Richardson – British Council with Declan Hill – Forum for Alternative Belfast, Jan Kleihues – IBA Expert, Kleihues + Kleihues and Gerry
Miller – Director of Property and Projects, Belfast City Council.


Constraint and Creativity: Is Red Tape the Enemy of Architecture?
Tuesday 5 March, 6.30pm – 8.00pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London £9 & £6.50 concession
In comparison to other countries, the UK is regarded as a place stiffled by red tape and as risk adverse. Will the government’s proposals to tear up Building Regulations threaten design quality or will they set us all free? Chaired
by Alastair Donald – British Council with Liam Ross – Edinburgh University, Tom Mullarkey – Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents and Piers Gough – CZWG.
The Working Village: Exploring a radical pilot entrepreneurial village
Thursday 14 March, 6.00 – 8.00pm

Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square London FREE to attend
Against the backdrop of failing high streets and dying neighbourhoods, is there a radical way of putting planning in the service of the economy? Could Localism be the genuine mechanism for growth as we were once promised and what might radicalism look like? Live thinktank event with Darryl Chen – Tomorrow's Thoughts Today, Finn Williams – Common Office, Wouter Vanstiphout – Crimson Architectural Historians and Levent Kerimol at Design for London. Supported by Hawkins\Brown.

Lessons from Brazil: Is Standardised School Design Compatible with Architecture?
Tuesday 19 March 6.30pm – 8.00pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London £9 & £6.50 concession
In the 1980s, Oscar Niemeyer led an experimental programme in Rio de Janeiro, building 508 prefabricated schools. As the UK embraces standardisation, but stands accused of lacking ambition, can we take inspiration from Brazil? With David Chambers – Aberrant Architecture and Washington Fajardo – Rio City Secretary of Heritage, Architecture and Design.

Special events

Discussion Bureau
Open Charter Agency: Image of the architect
26 February & 26 March 6pm - 9pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London, free drop in
The Open Charter Agency is a new platform for the public to explore how architects might act as agents of change and thoughts on the profession. Express your views and let them know what you think at the OCA Bureau. Led by Alex
Warnock-Smith – Urban Projects Bureau, Torange Khonsari and Andreas Lang – Public Works and Owen Pritchard.

Visionaries and Dreamers
Spring Last Tuesday at 66 Portland Place - Tuesday 26 March
18.00-22.00, RIBA
Special late night programme with talks, film, events and more.

Drawing Salon
Paper Architecture
Saturday 13 April, 10am to 5pm
Calvert 22 Gallery, 22 Calvert Avenue, London - charges apply see architecture.com/whatson
Inspired by Russian investigations, this drawing event is a chance for young architects to hone the development of creative ideas in response to a current London competition brief. Led by Ross Anderson and Anna Gill.

Creative family workshop
Spectacular Architecture
Saturday 6 April, 11am -2pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place London, free drop in
Bright ideas can come from anywhere at any age. Using international architecture as inspiration from the RIBA’s collections - fold, draw, cut, stick and colour to create a new spectacular cityscape. Families are invited to enjoy getting creative together.

Notes to editors

1. For further information contact Beatrice Cooke in the RIBA Press Office; beatrice.cooke@riba.org, 020 7307 3813. Images can be downloaded from: https://www.box.com/s/9zlii6i20o1ci1ycwdns

2. For further information on the British Council contact Alex Bratt; alex.bratt@britishcouncil.org, 02073894872

3. Booking information: advance booking for RIBA events is essential at www.architecture.com/whatson Alternatively leave a message on our recorded booking line: 020 7307 3699

4. The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. www.architecture.com

5. Venice Takeaway is curated by Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council and Vanessa Norwood, Head of Exhibitions at the Architectural Association.

The British Council’s Architecture, Design, Fashion team works with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative events and collaborations that link designers and cultural institutions around the world. The British Council’s commitment to the Venice Architecture Biennale illustrates the powerful contribution that the creative industries make to cultural relations. The British Council is responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice; showing British artists at the longest-running, most prestigious international art Biennial in the world: the Venice Biennale of Art. From 1991 the British Pavilion has also been home to architecture exhibitions in the alternate years to the art Biennale. For more information visit http://backoftheenvelope.britishcouncil.org

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.  Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. 

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%.  We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org or call our Press Office on +44 (0)20 7389 4268. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil  and www.britishcouncil.org/backoftheenvelope