Elain Harwood, the renowned architectural historian and ardent preservationist of twentieth century British architecture who presented our most recent web lecture on the work of Charles Holden, died unexpectedly on April 20. She was 64. 

Elain studied at the Architectural Association in London and received a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol. She spent nearly forty years with Historic England, the body that advises the British government on historic buildings in Britain. Her great expertise is evident in her award-winning work ranging from “Space, Hope and Brutalism” to “Art Deco Britain” to “Brutalist Britain.” Her involvement in the Greater London Council’s Historic Buildings Division, as well as her work with the Twentieth Century Society, led to many successful campaigns that saved multiple important twentieth century structures from demolition. 

The British Architectural Library Trust is honored to have been able to feature her as a lecturer and is saddened by her sudden passing. She had a true love of architecture and a passion for its care and preservation. Both her unparalleled knowledge and her commitment will continue to serve as an inspiration in the years to come.

What is BALT?

The British Architectural Library Trust (BALT) is an independent American non-profit organization founded in 2013 in support of the Library and Collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects (the RIBA), the foremost architectural library in the world.

Poolside Reflection, 1984 – Ben Johnson / RIBA Collections

Brilliant collections…

The RIBA Collections bring together over four million objects, in a broad range of media with a shared narrative that describe how buildings, communities and civilizations are designed and constructed. From 15th-century books and drawings, to photographs documenting architecture around the world today, the collections offer global scope and rich historical detail.  

White House, 72 Downage, Hendon, London, 1936 – Simmons & Grellier / RIBA Collections

Accessible from anywhere…

The Collections are located in London, England, at RIBA headquarters at 66 Portland Place and at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  Images are accessible online through RIBApix on the Library website.

Battersea ‘A’ Power Station, London, 1934 – John Maltby / RIBA Collections

Dedicated support…

BALT provides support to the Collections in multiple areas including research, cataloguing, conservation and digitization. BALT’s activities also include programming and cultural activities, exhibitions, educational programs and scholarly exchanges.

Henrietta House Wooden Maquettes / RIBA Collections