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RIBA launches online virtual reality exhibition - ‘FREESTYLE: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media’ by Space Popular

The Royal Institute of British Architects has launched a social VR experience of the exhibition ‘FREESTYLE: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media’.

26 May 2020

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (Tuesday 26 May) launched a social VR experience of the exhibition ‘FREESTYLE: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media’.

In response to the lockdown of our buildings and galleries, the RIBA has moved its cultural programme online and commissioned multidisciplinary design studio Space Popular to create a new way to experience the FREESTYLE exhibition, which opened in our London Architecture Gallery in February.

Visitors will enter the online exhibition as an avatar (using a standard web browser). Here, they can meet friends and family virtually, and wander through a redesigned space of the original gallery interior, exploring objects from the RIBA’s Collections. The experience will take visitors on a journey through 500 years of architectural style evolution and will consider how architectural styles are influenced by popular culture and technology.

Visit the exhibition at:

The virtual reality space will host a series of online events:

Tuesday 26th May at 6.30pm

Monday 8th June at 6.30pm (part of London Festival of Architecture)

Virtual Curator Tours with Shumi Bose

Join our curator for an online tour of our virtual exhibition, FREESTYLE – Architectural Adventures in Mass Media.

Thursday 28th May at 6.30pm

FREESTYLE: In Virtual Reality (in partnership with e-flux)
Join designers Space Popular and architecture and design critic Oliver Wainwright in RIBA’s first virtual reality talk, streamed live from the virtual exhibition space.

To coincide with the virtual exhibition launch, from Tuesday 26 to Friday 29 May, the RIBA Instagram page is hosting a series of daily takeovers from a range of creative contributors including Resolve Collective, designer Lidia Wang and feminist design collective EDIT.

FREESTYLE is an exhibition by multidisciplinary design studio Space Popular commissioned by the RIBA and curated by RIBA Exhibitions Curator Shumi Bose, which opened to the public at the RIBA Architecture Gallery on 26 February.

The exhibition raises one of the most enduring concerns of architecture: the rise and fall of styles. Drawing on the RIBA’s world-class collections, Space Popular uses virtual reality to examine architecture styles of the past – from the Renaissance to postmodernism - and to consider technology’s impact on contemporary buildings and spaces.

This exhibition has been generously supported by the Arts Council of England.


Notes to editors:

1. Press contact or +44 (0)20 7496 8349

2. Freestyle exhibition press release here.

3. Press images can be downloaded here.

4. ‘Freestyle: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media’ is curated by Shumi Bose, Curator of Exhibitions, RIBA.

5. Due to the government’s advice to limit social contact at this time, The RIBA’s public buildings and exhibitions at RIBA 66 Portland Place, London (including the gallery, library, bookshop and bar) and RIBA North, Liverpool are now closed.

6. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

7. RIBA Collections Since its foundation in 1834, the RIBA has amassed one of the world’s largest and richest architectural collections, which now comprises over four million drawings, books, models and photographs.

8. Space Popular is a multidisciplinary design and research practice led by Lara Lesmes & Fredrik Hellberg. Space Popular makes architecture, products, furniture graphics, interfaces and research.

9. This exhibition is kindly supported by the Arts Council of England; for more information please visit

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