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Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, Space Popular founders © Eva Sommeregger

Freestyle – Architectural Adventures in Mass Media

Through a mesmerising virtual reality experience, this new commission by multidisciplinary design studio Space Popular raises one of the most enduring concerns of architecture: the rise and fall of architectural styles.

RIBA presents its first virtual reality (VR) exhibition, exploring moments across 500 years of aesthetics in architecture.

What makes a style? How is a style collectively agreed upon and shared? Drawing on RIBA’s world-class collections, Space Popular uses virtual reality to examine styles of the past and to consider the technology’s impact on contemporary spaces and buildings. Historic artefacts will be displayed alongside newly commissioned content, inviting you to enter a beguiling virtual universe to experience how popular cultures and technologies impact architecture and its style evolution.

Making connections across mass media and style, Freestyle takes the visitor on a journey through time: from the Renaissance, where the influence of Classical architecture spread through printed volumes, through to the era of postmodernism where the channel-surfing of television provided a new and disjointed source of stylistic influence.

This exhibition is the second in a series of RIBA installation based on the iconic architectural treatise ‘The Seven Books of Architecture’ by Italian renaissance architect, Sebastiano Serlio. Freestyle takes its cue from the fourth volume of Serlio’s publication ‘On the Five Styles of Buildings’. An early edition of Serlio’s work forms part of RIBA’s Rare Book collection, and features in the show.

Find out more about the exhibition and related events.

Opening times

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Tuesday: 10am to 8pm
Sunday: Closed

This exhibition is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Arts Council England and National Lottery funding logo