RIBA Late: Less is more. Less is a bore

To celebrate the exhibition in the Architecture Gallery, Mies van der Rohe + James Stirling: Circling the Square, RIBA invites you to an evening of talks, events, performance, film and music. Registration essential.


March 28 2017 • 6.00pm
to 10.00pm


0207 307 3717 meneesha.kellay@riba.org


RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD



Book tickets



Book tickets


Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling, giants of 20th century architecture, are often considered figureheads of two movements in architectural history: high modernism and postmodernism. This evening of talks, events, performance, film and music, will celebrate the similarities and differences of these styles and associated design movements such as International Style, Bauhaus and Memphis Group.

All events are FREE of charge; however, registration is essential.


All events are on first come, first-served basis unless stated otherwise.

Download the full programme here. 


‘Portland Place Out of Character’ by Space Popular
In early May 1932, George Grey Wornum’s competition entry for a new home for the RIBA was selected amongst nearly 300 entrants. Its facade, despite it not being the critics’ favourite at the time, has since become the memorable face of the institute. This piece, a spectacular postmodernist fabric mural of the façade of 66 Portland Place, brings a selection of the possible faces of the RIBA together with the current one, showing the radical stylistic and symbolic differences between them. 


‘James Stirling: Victorian architect’ by Timothy Brittain-Catlin
6.30pm to 6.50pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor

The demolition of the Mappin & Webb building on the No 1 Poultry site was a scandal. But Stirling's replacement was in its own way as Victorian as the structure it replaced: tough but delicate; and uncompromising but ingratiating. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Deputy Chairman of the Twentieth Century Society, will be discussing the merits of No1 Poultry and other postmodern masterpieces.

Madeness by Richard Wentworth
7pm to 7.20pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor

Artist Richard Wentworth will give a talk on materiality and landscape. ‘Having watched both Aylesbury and Heygate being built, Corb in Marseille makes a lot of sense but the materials and masses in SE17 are doomed by the climate here’.  In this view was Mies’ tower was appropriate for Chicago and northern American cities but perhaps not for London?

Mies + Stirling: Where were the women?
7.30pm to 8.00pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor

The role of women designers as part of both schemes is an obvious omission as we know there were some incredibly talented female architects working in the 1960’s through to the 1990’s. Hear from some of the women who worked alongside James Stirling or within the same period, such as Barbara Weiss, Eva Jirnica, MJ Long, and Ulla Wilke in conversation with Harriet Harriss, author of A Gendered Profession.

‘A Vision for Britain’ by Douglas Murphy
8.15pm to 8.30pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor
The battle over the 1 Poultry site opposite the Bank of England was just one of many skirmishes in a culture war fought over architecture in the 1980s, and one of the main generals was HRH Prince Charles, commanding a flotilla of traditionalists who wanted to put an end to Britain’s post-war modernity. But what did he stand for? And what did he want? And why shouldn’t we get it?


The #PROBLEM with Modernism, by Michiel van Iersel, Charlie Clemoes - Failed Architecture and video editor Tom Carter.
6.00pm to 9.00pm, Bistro Space, First Floor
The death of Modernism caused the birth of hip hop. The downfall of large scale housing projects in American and European cities, from Brixton to the Bronx, gave rise to various musical and political movements. Modernist buildings provided the physical backdrop and a source of inspiration for the sound and video recordings of MCs around the world. Nonetheless, in the official accounts of this type of architecture little has been said about its link with hip hop and the urban lifestyle from which it emerged, which is inherently postmodern in its resistance against established tastes and styles.

In recent years London has become an important stage for the clash between grime's breakbeats and Brutalism. Alexandra Road, the Heygate estate, The Barbican, the Trellick and Balfron towers: they all featured in videos of grime artists and their crew. It's about time to explore the complex relationship between Mies van der Rohe's claim that his architecture represents the "will of an epoch translated into space" and a new generation of artists who don't care "about your --isms" and rap about a real #PROBLEM and "touch the road and it's shutdown"..


The Digital Dead Drawing Club
6.00pm to 9.00pm, Florence Hall, First Floor

Ever wondered how to get a head in digital sculpting? Taking inspiration from a bust of James Stirling in the RIBA Collection, join our head-turning digital workshop where on iPads participants will sculpt and superimpose their likeness to a digital bust or digitally create a bust of their favourite architect.

Polyphonic Prints
6.00pm to 9.00pm, Florence Hall, First Floor
Mies was director of the Bauhaus and admired the work of Kandinsky and Klee. Kandinsky believed the experience of sound, colour and shape were connected: he could hear colour and made ‘polyphonic paintings’. Taking inspiration from music from the Spiritland DJs, join in a hands-on and ears open workshop with Studio Tej making collage prints based on Kandinsky and Klee paintings.

Stirling, Mies or me?
6.00pm to 9.00pm, Aston-Webb Room, Second Floor

The RIBA’s Young People’s Forum will help you design and build your own proposal for the contested site where No1 Poultry stands. See your design literally come to life in LED light as part of a re-imagined neon City of London.

6.00pm to 9.00pm, First Floor Landing
Cast your vote and stand by it with your conviction tattooed to your body with a (washable!) ink stamp.


Building tours of 66 Portland Place
6.30pm to 7.15pm and 7.30pm to 8.15pm, sign up at reception, Ground Floor
Discover the history, highlights and curiosities of our stunning Art Deco home completed in 1934.


An Architect’s Legacy: James Stirling’s Students at Yale (4.55mins)
6.30pm, Lutyens Room, Second Floor

The film captures the energy and attitude of James Stirling during his time as a visiting professor at Yale. Among those interviewed: Robert A. M. Stern, Leon Krier, Cesar Pelli, Peter Eisenman, Stanislaus Von Moos, Craig Hodgetts, Robert Livesey and Emmanuel Petit. The films consider the debate about where Stirling stands as a Post-Modernist.

Student Presentation: James Stirling’s Inspection House by Lucy Moroney
6.40pm, Lutyens Room, Second Floor

Examining James Stirling’s B.Braun Factory to Le Corbusier’s house interior in the Weißenhof Estate approach to the use of colour. Le Corbusier treats his interior space as a painting composition, which can be broken down to an image and reapplied to space, whereas Stirling’s application of colour becomes a way to systemise the working of a factory and has incidentally become something more. Each begins to give us clues in how we can start to manifest colour as a spatial language.

Student Presentation: ‘Women Are From Venus, Mies Was from Mars: The Role of the Modernist Male in the Construction of an Architect’s Sexual Persona’ by Chris Jeffcoate
7.00pm, Lutyens Room, Second Floor
How do we write a script for what it is that should define our identities as male or female architects today? This work investigates the archetype of the modernist male in the post-war era: Mies van der Rohe. By exploring his persona – particularly his relationships with women, which may appear deplorable in the eyes of today’s historian – we can shed light on how Mies and other key figures of the 20th century are woven into the fabric of aspirations available to the emerging cohort of architects.


MIES, a film by Michael Blackwood (58mins)
7.20pm to  8.20pm, Lutyens Room, Second Floor
No understanding of the modern movement in architecture is possible without knowledge of its master builder, Mies van der Rohe. Together with documentations of his life, this film reviews all his major work and offers rare footage of Mies explaining his philosophy. Mies’ achievements and continuing influence are debated by architects Robert A.M. Stern, Robert Venturi, and Philip Johnson, as well as architectural historians and his former students.

STIRLING, a film by Michael Blackwood (58mins)
8.30pm to 9.30pm, Lutyens Room, Second Floor
James Stirling was once known as Britain's most original architect. In this video he tours his three major museums--the New State Gallery in Stuttgart, the Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Tate Gallery extension in London. He describes his formative years, influenced by the work of Le Corbusier. 


Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square
6pm to 10pm, The Architecture Gallery, Ground Floor

President’s Medals 2016
6pm to 10pm, The Practice Space, Second Floor


Jolyon Green (Spiritland)
Spiritland is a cafe and bar in King’s Cross, built around a world-class sound system – a one-off, exceptional creation playing original, in-depth musical programming from jazz and soul to classical and ambient from morning to late at night. It’s all about the music, the artist and the listening experience. It’s a place to experience music of all genres and eras, encouraging creativity and exploration.

From 6pm – music until 9.40pm and last orders at the bar 9.30pm
Bars: Jarvis Foyer, Lower Ground Floor and Florence Hall, First floor

This event is part of the exhibition Mies van der Rohe + James Stirling: Circling the Square. #MiesStirling