IMPORTANT Website terms of use and cookie statement

Wide-Angle View

Black and white photograph of children playing in a circle in a brick courtyard, Trafalgar Estate, Greenwich, London

Wide-Angle View

Opening 13 September 2023 to 24 February 2024

Architecture as social space in the Manplan series 1969-70

Through the lens of the pages of the Architectural Review magazine, Wide-Angle View is an exhibition on the Manplan series, a ground-breaking exploration of architecture’s impact on society.

This exhibition of over 70 original photographs, some that have never been seen before, offers a unique insights on society in the late 1960s. The magazine was bold and innovative in its tone and style, incorporating pioneering graphic and print techniques and radical photojournalism to analyse the state of society in Britain at the turn of the decade. It initiated a new outlook and approach to architectural debate and journalism that is still relevant today.

The Wide-Angle View photography exhibition looks at Manplan and presents photography from renowned professionals such as Ian Berry, Patrick Ward and Tony Ray-Jones at our Architecture Gallery in central London which is free and open to all. 

Black and white photograph of children at the edge of a shallow lake with tower blocks and cranes in the background
Southmere Lake and Southmere Towers, Thamesmead, Greenwich, London by Tony Ray-Jones (Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections)

Wide-Angle View

Architecture Gallery - ground floor, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

Click below for specific opening times

About the Manplan series

Manplan was a a visual manifesto and photographic revolution in print. In 1969, The Architectural Review dedicated the pages of their journal to analyse the state of architecture and urban planning in Britain. The monthly international architectural magazine had a history of campaigning for important issues related to the built environment. The Manplan series was revolutionary both in ambition and in execution. It was radical in its tone and style, with photography at its centre to critique the impact of architecture on society.

The title Manplan was used as each issue was devoted to an individual area of human activity that was affected by design and planning choices. The magazine documented the built environment but also was used to propose an alternative and holistic approach, one that would look at all basic human needs. The images and themes addressed throughout the eight issues resonate today and speak to current situations within society.

Black and white photograph of school children in a queue walking up a set of stairs with photos on the wall
Unidentified primary school (Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections)

From September 1969 to September 1970, eight special issues were published as a survey of British architectural. Each issue highlighted an individual area of human activity that was impacted by design and planning choices. Guest editors were invited to work with specially commissioned photojournalists and street photographers to develop each theme.

Although photography had been integral to The Architectural Review since the 1930s, the images that defined Manplan were like nothing that had been seen in the magazine before. They focused on people, shifting the emphasis from the architecture itself to the human element within the built environment. The dramatic black and white images, shot on a 35mm camera in the ‘photo-reportage’ style, created a strong visual statement to support the text of each edition. Themes included religion, health and welfare, frustration and education.

Black and white photograph of classroom windows with silhouettes of students
Classroom window, Wales (Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections)

The art direction and design of the magazine was graphic and original, providing a powerful backdrop for the striking black and white images. The overall message was strong, uncompromising and a highly critical commentary on contemporary living conditions in Britain. This embodied both the idealism of the 1960s and the disillusionment felt at the end of that decade. Many of the issues addressed are still extremely relevant today.

Wide Angle View in RIBA Books

Order the Wide Angle View paperback from RIBA Books

Sign up for our newsletter

Be first to hear about our exhibitions, events and awards, and exclusive offers.

keyboard_arrow_up To top