RIBA National Awards Party on 12 July 2018

RIBA with Arper UK and Cosentino are delighted to invite all American Friends to a celebratory event for all 2018 RIBA National Award winners on Thursday 12 July at the Serpentine Galleries Pavilion, designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo who became the youngest architect to work on the Serpentine Pavilion.

The RIBA National Awards are given to buildings across the UK recognised as significant contributions to architecture and this year we have awarded 49 fantastic projects.

If you are able to attend, please do RSVP to Mica.Jones@RIBA.org.


RIBA National Award Winners Party – 12 July 2018 Image: The 2018 Serpentine Pavilion by Frida Escobedo, photographed by Iwan Baan.

Visit to Sir Terry Farrell’s home, Lisson Grove on Thursday 21 June 2018

American Friends are welcome to join us for an exclusive visit to Sir Terry Farrell’s home on the afternoon of Thursday 21 June 2018.

Sir Terry Farrell invites us into his unique loft apartment within an Art Deco 1920’s former aircraft parts factory. The living space is organised around an atrium with a garden. The ceilings are high an a collection of replica fighter planes from both the First and Second World Wars is housed within the space.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

Penthouse atrium © Terry Farrell


London History Day 2018

On Thursday 31 May 2018, more than 70 of London’s museums, galleries and cultural spaces opened their doors to reveal special behind the scenes tours, rarely seen exhibits and one off events, celebrating the capital’s unique identity.

London History Day: The London that might have been

To celebrate London History Day, we’ve delved into the RIBA Collections to explore alternative proposals for London buildings through history.

You can discover more about these schemes and plenty more through the RIBApix image library, our online resource of more than 95,000 drawings and photographs from the RIBA Collections.

Join the conversation with #LondonHistoryDay and #RIBACollections.

1983 model for the National Gallery Extension by Ahrends Burton & Koralek

Perhaps one of the most memorable architectural debates in recent history centered around the design for the National Gallery’s extension, opened as the Sainsbury Wing in 1991 and completed to designs by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. A 1982 design competition prompted proposals from high-profile architects including Richard Rogers and R. Seifert & Partners – but the winning entry was this High-Tech scheme by Ahrends Burton Koralek. This design became a battle-ground for debate between architectural neo-modernists and traditionalists, among them Prince Charles, who slammed the proposal in a speech at the RIBA. Ahrends Burton Koralek’s scheme was denied planning permission in 1984, and replaced with the Venturi Scott Brown & Associates design that now defines the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square.

Top: 1983 model for the National Gallery Extension by Ahrends Burton & Koralek, courtesy RIBA Collections, and below: The Sainsbury Wingphotographed in 1998, as built to the designs of Venturi Scott Brown & Associates, courtesy Janet Hall / RIBA Collections

1981 competition sketch for additional office and library space for the RIBA

This tongue-in-cheek competition sketch for an extension to our own headquarters building at 66 Portland Place proposes a ‘temple’ structure intended to house the RIBA President as well as a members’ swimming pool, bandstand for events and a radio mast to give the President direct access to the worldwide media.

Top: 1981 competition sketch for the RIBA by an unknown architect, courtesy RIBA Collections, and below: The RIBA headquarters at 66 Portland Place, designed by George Grey Wornum, as it looks today

1960 competition design for a shopping centre at the Elephant & Castle by ErnöGoldfinger

Despite this shopping centre design never being realised, Ernö Goldfinger nevertheless made his mark on Elephant & Castle with his design for the government office block Alexander Fleming House, now a residential tower known as Metro Central Heights. The selected shopping centre design by Boissevain & Osmond was the first covered shopping centre in Europe when it opened in 1965. Today the shopping centre is earmarked for demolition, the central point in a London neighbourhood undergoing huge change.

Top: 1960 Ernö Goldfinger unexecuted competition design for Elephant and Castle, courtesy RIBA Collections, and bellow: 1965 Bill Toomey photographof Boissevain & Osmond’s executed design, courtesy RIBA Collections

1956 early scheme for the Barbican Estate by Chamberlin Powell & Bon

Chamberlin Powell & Bon’s design for the Barbican Estate went through several iterations. The original 1954 brief was smaller in scale than the complex eventually built, and comprised housing for 5,000 residents. Chamberlin Powell & Bon responded by proposing a ring of tall office blocks with clusters of dwellings arranged around a series of courtyards. This drawing shows the Barbican concept developing while revealing very different elevations to those executed.

Top: 1956 Chamberlin Powell & Bon early drawing for the Barbican Estate, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: The Barbican Estate as built, photographed in 2017, courtesy Danilo Leonardi / RIBA Collections

1950 unexecuted design for the Festival of Britain exhibition complex, South Bank, by Sir Misha Black

Although this design for a large riverside structure in the form of a giant glazed spiral ramp was never realised, Sir Misha Black was a key figure in the 1951 Festival of Britain complex, designing the Regatta Restaurant that neighboured the main ‘Dome of Discovery’ building by Ralph Tubbs. The architectural legacy of the Festival of Britain survives in the form of the London County Council Architects’ Department’s Royal Festival Hall.

Top: 1950 Sir Misha Black unexecuted design for the Festival of Britain, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: 2008 photograph of the Royal Festival Hall, courtesy Christopher Hope-Fitch / RIBA Collections

1942 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott studies for Bankside Power Station

This early study for Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern) is subtly – but importantly – different from the final building. The drawing shows two chimneys, one of which was later scrapped in order to preserve views of St Paul’s Cathedral. The remaining chimney was also reduced in height. Original plans for Bankside Power station had envisaged a coal power station, but this was later switched to oil, which could be stored in underground tanks and therefore removed the need for larger storage above ground.

Top: 1942 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott studies for Bankside Power Station, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: 1995 photograph of Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern), courtesy Janet Hall/ RIBA Collections

1925 photograph of a plaster model of a proposed tower to be built over Selfridges department store, by Sir John Burnet & Partners

After Selfridges department store opened in 1909, building works continued to be carried out, with the main entrance not complete until 1928. Apparently not content with a building that defied previous limitations of construction (it was one of London’s earliest examples of steel cage frame construction, supporting a frontage made more of glass than stone or iron works), Harry Gordon Selfridge had ambitions – never realised – to construct an immense tower above the main building, and to excavate an underground tunnel linking the store directly with Bond Street Underground Station (to be renamed Selfridges). This model shows one of the tower proposals, still dwarfed in scale by Philip Tilden’s scheme.

Top: 1925 model for a proposed tower over Selfridges by Sir John Burnet & Partners, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: Selfridges photographedshortly after completion (without tower) in 1929, courtesy RIBA Collections

1867 Edward Middleton Barry design for the proposed National Gallery

Remember the furore over plans for the National Gallery extension in the 1980s? It wasn’t the first time designs for the National Gallery had been scuppered. This proposal by Edward Middleton Barry won an 1866 design competition for a complete rebuilding of the National Gallery, but its domed structure was denounced by critics as “a strong plagiarism on St Paul’s Cathedral”. Barry’s contribution was scaled back to an extension to the existing building, which had been designed by William Wilkins. Perhaps adding insult to injury, Barry had been similarly passed over only a year earlier in a competition for the Royal Courts of Justice, the commission for which was awarded to George Edmund Street despite the judges having recommended Barry’s design.

Top: 1867 Edward Middleton Barry proposal for the National Gallery, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: 2007 photograph of William Wilkins’ National Gallery, courtesy Christopher Hope-Fitch / RIBA Collections

1840 Charles Barry designs for the clock tower, Houses of Parliament

London History Day is celebrated on the anniversary of when ‘Big Ben’ first started keeping time (31 May 1859) – so it would be remiss of us not to include an alternative proposal for London’s best-known clock tower. Charles Barry’s designs for the reconstruction of the Houses of Parliament did not originally include a clock tower – he was only asked to include it later. This preliminary study, while ‘ Gothic Revival’ in style, has the addition of a surmounting turret in a ‘Moorish’ style. The final tower design was eventually built in 1859, being renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 but more commonly referred to as Big Ben after the largest of its five bells.

Left: 1840 Charles Barry designs for the clock tower, Houses of Parliament, courtesy RIBA Collections, and right: ‘Big Ben’ photographed in 1994, courtesy Joe Low/ RIBA Collections

1830 Lewis Nockalls Cottingham competition design for the New Houses of Parliament

Following the Great Fire of 1834 a competition was set up to design the new Houses of Parliament, and in just four months, 1,400 drawings by 97 entrants had been submitted. The designs ranged from a vast neoclassical ‘Senate House’ in St James’ Park by Joseph Gandy, to this Gothic Revival design by Lewis Nockalls Cottingham. The Gothic style was actually specified by the judges, as the classical architectural style was associated with the French Revolution and Republicanism. Ironically, the winning neo-Gothic design by Charles Barry was heavily criticised by his colleague Augustus Pugin as ‘All Grecian, sir; Tudor details on a classic body.’

Top: 1830 Lewis Nockalls Cottingham design for the Houses of Parliament, courtesy RIBA Collections, and Below: 1860 print of Charles Barry’s winning design, courtesy RIBA Collections

Discover more unrealised schemes in our special collection of images onRIBApix, RIBA’s image library.

Private tour of Crossrail Farringdon Station on Tuesday 5 June 2018

American Friends are welcome to join us for an exclusive visit to Crossrail’s Farrigdon Station on the afternoon of Tuesday 5 June 2018.

We will start our afternoon in the British Architectural Library at RIBA to view some of our collections thematically relating to the development of transport infrastructure in the UK with several of our curators.

We will then head on our exclusive visit to Farringdon Crossrail Station, expected to be one of the busiest in the UK when it opens to serve the Elizabeth line in December 2018, for a behind the scenes hard-hat tour to learn about the architectural and engineering challenges that the Crossrail team has faced.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

Rendering of Crossrail Farringdon Station © Crossrail

Three historical and modern self-build schemes in Lewisham on Thursday 17 May 2018

American Friends are welcome to join us for this half-day out in South London where we will explore two self-build schemes.

Walter’s Way and Segal Close, devised by the architect Walter Segal and built by residents nearly 30 years ago; and No. 49 by 31/44 Architects – a self-build project for the owner/architect showcasing a set of zen-like domestic interiors and courtyard spaces.

No. 49 is a recipient of numerous RIBA awards and was longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2017.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

No. 49© Anna Stathaki

Neave Brown’s Alexandra Road Estate on Wednesday 11 April 2018

American Friends are welcome to join us for a visit to Neave Brown’s seminal Alexandra Road Estate and Alexandra Centre in South Kilburn on Wednesday 11 April 2018.

We will celebrate Neave Brown being awarded the 2018 Royal Gold Medal by visiting his visionary Grade II* listed 1970s Alexandra Road Estate. With its striking stepped concrete terraces and spacious flats, in Neave’s own words it’s “a piece of city”. We will visit the Alexandra Centre – a care home for young people with learning difficulties, renovated by RIBA chartered architects, Haverstock, and take a tour of the public park. We are then invited in by the owners of to two private apartments – one which retains all of the original features, and one newly refurbished and sensitively restored.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

The Alexandra Road Estate (otherwise known as the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate) was built by Neave Brown, RIBA’s 2018 Royal Gold Medallist, while he was in the Camden Architects Department in 1979. Photo from 2010 © Eric Firley / RIBA Collections

Spring 2018 US Lecture Tour Dates Published

We are very pleased to announce the dates and locations for the US lecture tour, The Country Houses of Sir Edwin Lutyens, which Charles Hind (RIBA Chief Curator and Architectural Historian) will be giving on our behalf for the Royal Oak Foundation this April.

Please see below for the dates and locations:

La Jolla: Monday 16 April

San Francisco: Tuesday 17 April

New York: Thursday 19 April

Philadelphia: Monday 23 April

Washington DC: Tuesday 24 April

Don’t forget to use our co-sponsor code 18SRIBA for discounted tickets.

The Country Houses of Sir Edwin Lutyens

Edwin Landseer Lutyens is considered one of the greatest British architects of the first half of the 20th century.

Before 1914, a large part of his work was the building or remodelling of private homes and British country houses whilst after the 1st World War, he is primarily known for memorials and public buildings.

But even his greatest work, the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi, from which the British ruled India, is really an English country house on a monumental scale—for which the architect designed virtually every piece of furniture and the interior details including the doorknobs and chandeliers.

Lutyens’ early work was characterized as adaptations (but not copies) of rural vernacular. His early style grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement and was strongly influenced by his upbringing in rural Surrey, southwest of London. Stylistically Lutyens later moved to a full blown classicism—what he called “a big game, a high game”—which was popular during the later Edwardian period and of which the most dramatic example is Heathcote, a suburban villa in Ilkley, Yorkshire (1905-7) where used variations on Renaissance architecture.

But whichever style he adopted, Lutyens was deeply committed to developing and distilling its essence while making it suitable to the needs of his patrons, who required all the conveniences of modern life. He also integrated his houses with carefully considered and harmonious gardens influenced by his partnership with Gertrude Jekyll, for whom he built Munstead Wood (1893-97) and who introduced him to most of his earliest patrons, many of whom remained lifelong friends and supporters.

Two of Lutyens’ houses, Castle Drogo and Lindisfarne Castle (now National Trust properties) can be described as typical. Castle Drogo (1910-30), designed for a department store magnate, is a recreation of a medieval castle enclosing modern interiors, while Lindisfarne (1903) is a remodelling of a coastal Tudor fort created for the owner of Country Life Magazine. But both are far more romantic than their supposed or real historical origins might suggest.

Charles Hind, Chief Curator and H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), will talk about Lutyens’ domestic architecture and show, using illustrations drawn from RIBA’s extensive archive and images from the National Trust, how his work continues to inspire architects and patrons today, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Photograph of Sir Edwin Lutyens at his drawing board from 1940 by Elliott and Fry RIBA24140 © Architectural Press Archive RIBA Collections

The Home Studio in Kilburn on Wednesday 14 March 2018

American Friends are welcome to join us for a visit to the Home Studio in Kilburn on Wednesday 14 March 2018.

An unassuming front door conceals an unexpected family home and workplace which overlap without interfering. Recently featured in World of Interiors Magazine, Home/Studio 320 Kilburn Lane is a RIBA London Award winning and Don’t Move Improve! Most Innovative Award winning project and home to architectural practice Studio McLeod. Our tour will be led by architect and owner, Duncan McLeod.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

Home Studio by Studio McLeod © Lawrence Carlos

Bloomberg’s European HQ on Wednesday 21 February 2018

American Friends are invited to join us for a visit to Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London. The building is a true exemplar of sustainable development and features a unique natural ventilation system and an innovative energy-saving ceiling as well as a subterranean Roman Temple beneath the building. Art plays a central role in the project, with major site-specific commissions including work from Olafur Eliasson and Cristina Iglesias. On our visit led by Michael Jones, Senior Partner and Bloomberg Project Manager at Foster + Partners, we will explore how this innovative space energizes employees, clients and visitors while encouraging a new level of productivity and collaboration.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

(c) Foster + Partners, Katy Harris
Bloomberg’s European Headquarters © Foster + Partners, Katy Harris

Visit to the Sun Rain Room in Clerkenwell on Wednesday 17 January 2018

American Friends are invited to join us for a visit to Sun Rain Room, a RIBA Award-winning project, which is a two-storey extension and restoration of a Grade-II Listed Georgian townhouse on Wednesday 17 January 2018. Designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu in collaboration with local craftspeople, it serves as both a studio for the practice and a home for the partners’ family. An innovative plywood roof forms a canopy over internal and external living and meeting spaces, which cradle a rainwater-filled reflecting pool. It is a place to enjoy changing weather, seasons and times of day. We will visit the Sun Rain Rooms in the evening for the best experience.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or Patrons@riba.org.

Sun Rain Room by Tonkin Liu © Edmund Sumner