Patrons Christmas Party on Monday 4 December 2017

This Christmas, Ben Derbyshire (RIBA President) invites American Friends and Patrons to the Patrons of Architecture Christmas Party on Monday 4 December 2017 in the British Architectural Library at RIBA.

We will celebrate with a drinks reception, uncovering the stories behind the Building Modern Britain project. A special display of rare and unseen items from our collections will be unveiled on the evening and curators will be on hand to take you on an insightful journey of the period from the 1950s to the end of the 1980s that saw new radical ideas applied to the built environment.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0) 20 7307 3701 or

Alma Cogan’s flat, London 1957 © John Maltby / RIBA Collections

East Sussex Day Trip on 9 November 2017

American Friends and Patrons are invited to join this day trip to the English Coast, where we will visit two fine examples of the work of the architect Serge Chermayeff and a national treasure, the Hasting Pier that has been brought back to life by dRMM Architects (and which has been the recipient of this year’s RIBA South East Award as well as shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2017).

Bentley Wood

Designed in 1936 and completed in 1938 Bentley Wood is considered to be one of the most influential modern houses of the period. This family home it is built of timber, both as structure and cladding, to reflect the vernacular surroundings but also for the material’s newly found suitability for modern architecture.  Sean Albuquerque, architect and current owner, will lead the tour of his family home and a live project.

House at Bentley Wood, Halland, East Sussex: the garden front with sculpture by Henry Moore in the foreground© Architectural Press Archive, RIBA Collections

De La Warr Pavilion, East Sussex

One of the best known works of Serge Chermayeff and  Erich Mendelsohn in East Sussex the Pavilion is Grade I listed and is one of Britain’s most significant Modernist landmarks. The Pavilion was opened in 1935 and was constructed using pioneering materials and construction techniques: concrete and steel, with large glass windows, cantilevered balconies, clean lines and terrazzo floors. In 2005, after an extensive restoration, the De La Warr Pavilion reopened as a contemporary arts centre, encompassing one of the largest galleries on the south coast of England.

De La Warr Pavilion © Stephen Dutton, RIBA Collections

Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier was originally designed by renowned Victorian engineer Eugenius Birch and opened in 1872. In the 1980s the Pier sadly fell into a state of disrepair and was destroyed by a fire in 2010. Reopened in April 2016, the new Pier has been designed by dRMM architects as a pier for the 21st century. It is a sustainable, flexible platform that is able to host a broad range of community uses. The new visitor centre is clad in reclaimed timber which was salvaged from the original fire-damaged pier. Hastings Pier has won RIBA South East Award 2017.

Hastings Pier by dRMM architects © Alex de Rijke


We are planning to depart promptly at 8.30am by private coach from Waterloo and will return around 7pm. The journey takes a little over two hours each way.

Please let us know if you would like transportation from London.  Should you choose to make your own way there, we will need to liaise about our first stop due to parking restrictions.

To book your place or for further information, please contact the Arina Zharikova on 020 7307 3701 or

Chief Curator’s Masterclass: America and the RIBA Collections in New York on Tuesday 10 October 2017

American Friends are invited to join us for a masterclass with the Chief Curator of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Charles Hind, followed by a drinks reception on Tuesday 10th October from 6.30 – 8pm at KPF’s offices.

Charles will be speaking about the historic links between architects in Britain and America since the 18th century and the impact on RIBA’s collections since the first gifts by US architects in 1838.  The AIA, founded in 1857, was modelled on RIBA and became an important conduit for American materials travelling to London. Since the mid-20th century, the traffic has tended to be the other way, with British architects studying and recording American innovations in architecture and also teaching in leading US architecture schools. In recent years, the RIBA Collections have been much more proactive in obtaining American accessions – a welcome return to earlier practice.

Please RSVP to for this event as security will need to check your name from a list.

Frederic August Bartholdi and Richard Morris Hunt Statue of Liberty drawing 1884

Elial Saarinen Design for the Tabernacle Church of Christ in Columbus Indiana 1940

Thomas Ustick Walter Capital section design for the dome in DC 1859.png


Yale University Summer Internship 2017

The Yale Bulldog intern scheme was established in 2005 in collaboration with Yale University in Connecticut. The scheme normally admits two interns for two months in the summer – one to work at 66 Portland Place working with Library Education department and one at the Drawings & Archives collection held in RIBA’s architectural partnership with the V&A.

This summer Alex Swanson joined members of the RIBA curatorial team and this is his story…

My Experience at the British Architectural Library

This summer I’ve had the privilege of cataloguing the manuscripts of the Barbican Redevelopment, part of the papers of the architectural practice Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. Over the course of eight weeks I audited, rehoused, consolidated, and catalogued all manuscripts pertaining to the Barbican, including reports and statements, office archives and memoranda, correspondences, and related publications. I spent my first few days researching the Barbican, placing it in its historical context and understanding the development as an icon of post-war Modernism. This entailed office reading and a visit to the British Architectural Library at RIBA Portland Place.

After research, I began auditing the archive. For the first three weeks of the internship I went through each box—mostly at the Drawings & Archives Collection (DAC) offices in the V&A but occasionally at the RIBA out store in Fulham—and noted what was inside. The archive was initially about fifteen boxes. Auditing required taking most manuscripts out of their original housing and placing them in acid-free folders. Many boxes contained non-Barbican material, drawings, and photographs. Once I got all the materials separated, the final Barbican manuscript archive was nine boxes, which I had tried to organize into related materials in chronological order.

The next step was to enter each item into the RIBA catalogue. Over the course of the next four weeks I created 176 separate entries, each with their own subject headings and reference numbers to aid research. At the same time, I made a rough list of all duplicate manuscripts and separated drawings and photographs to be separately catalogued. To finish, I went through all entries to give call numbers and do a final check.

Working at RIBA has not been all office time, however. The DAC offices in the V&A offer easy access to a world-class museum. Some mornings I would spend in the permanent galleries or special exhibitions, either as a work break or a as bit of personal research. I also had tours of the store and study rooms at the DAC, the British Architectural Library, and RIBA’s conservation studios at the V&A, which were particularly interesting because I could compare research methods of art history in the US (my current degree) to those of British architecture. Yet it was ultimately archival experience that I wanted to gain from this internship, and I certainly have. At Yale we are often encouraged to do archival research, but until now I had no experience working from the other end designing catalogues that will hopefully aid a diverse range of researchers in the future. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for the amount of respect and trust I have received from RIBA to independently conduct this project.

Alex Swanson, the 2017 Yale Bulldog Intern


Exhibition Preview of Pablo Bronstein: Conservatism, or The Long Reign of Pseudo Georgian Architecture on Wednesday 20 September 2017

Britain’s most desirable house is firmly Georgian in style – according to successive polls, fevered property prices and enduring stylistic influences over time. Indeed, ‘Georgian’ architecture has been in fashion almost continually over the last 300 years. But just what is it that makes yesterday’s architecture so different, so appealing?

RIBA’s third commission, Pablo Bronstein: Conservatism, or The Long Reign of Pseudo Georgian Architecture, anchors around the practice of British-Argentinian artist Pablo Bronstein, and his exploration of ubiquitous neo-Georgian developments as an exemplar of a genuine British vernacular.

Fifty new drawings of contemporary buildings – constructed during the second half of the twentieth century but in an ostensibly ‘Georgian’ style – will be on display for the first time, alongside a selection of rarely-seen historical material from the RIBA’s prestigious Drawings Collection. Chosen by the artist, the archival material situates Bronstein’s drawings in the context of architectural practise through time, revealing long-cherished ideals about social aspiration, urban fabric, identity and representation.

From the RIBA Collections, renowned architectural figures such as Colen Campbell (1676-1729), Michael Searles (1751-1813) and Robert Adam (b.1948) are presented alongside lesser-known contributors to the late neo-Georgian style.

The exhibition is designed by Pablo Bronstein and architecture practice Apparata (Nicholas Lobo Brennan and Astrid Smitham) and will be open every day between September 21st and 11th February 2018.

Please join us for a curator-led tour at the opening of the exhibition on Wednesday 20 September 2017. For more information or to RSVP please contact Arina Zharikova on +44 (0)20 7307 3701 or

1-4 Cassland Road and Well Street, Hackney E9 7AN. Ink on Paper, 21 x 14 cm. © Pablo Bronstein, 2017. Courtesy of Herald St, London and Galeria Franco Noero, Turin

Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square – Final Week of Exhibition

Since March this year, RIBA has been exploring Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised Mansion House Square project, alongside its built successor James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates’ Number One Poultry.

Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square exhibition has seen the projects presented together for the first time, offering a unique opportunity to trace the continuity in purpose and approach that unites two seemingly dissimilar architectural creations.

Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe designed his proposal for Mansion House Square at the very end of his career, between 1962 and his death in 1969. The classic Miesian glass tower of 19 storeys, accompanying public square and underground shopping centre would have been Mies’s first and only project in the UK. After a protracted planning process, the scheme was finally rejected in 1985.

Lord Palumbo then approached James Stirling, to conceive an alternative vision for the site. James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates’ Number One Poultry was completed in 1997, five years after Stirling’s untimely death. It is often cited as a masterpiece of the post-international style and has recently been awarded Grade II* listed status; while it still divides opinion, the building was designed with an acute understanding of both its historic surroundings and Mies’s earlier design.

The exhibition features newly restored models and materials about the Mies’ scheme on loan to the RIBA by Lord Palumbo, along with significant items from the Number One Poultry archive that provide an intimate insight into the workings of the Stirling office, from initial sketch ideas to Stirling’s famous ‘worm-eye’ axonometric views.

See what the press has been enthusing about – don’t miss this exhibition which closes on Sunday 20 August 2017.

A photomontage of the proposed tower block for the Mansion House Square scheme, 1 Poultry, City of London from 1983. © John Donat / RIBA Collections

RIBA National Awards Party on 13 July 2017

RIBA with Arper UK is delighted to invite all American Friends to a celebratory event for all 2017 RIBA National Award winners on Thursday 13 July at the Serpentine Galleries Pavilion, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré.

Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his home town of Gando, Francis Kéré has designed a responsive Pavilion that seeks to connect its visitors to nature – and each other. An expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimics a tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.

Kéré has positively embraced British climate in his design, creating a structure that engages with the ever-changing London weather in creative ways. The Pavilion has four separate entry points with an open air courtyard in the centre, where visitors can sit and relax during sunny days. In the case of rain, an oculus funnels any water that collects on the roof into a spectacular waterfall effect, before it is evacuated through a drainage system in the floor for later use in irrigating the park. Both the roof and wall system are made from wood. By day, they act as solar shading, creating pools of dappled shadows. By night, the walls become a source of illumination as small perforations twinkle with the movement and activity from inside.

The Serpentine Pavilion is also the platform for a new summer of Park Nights, the Serpentine’s annual series of experimental and interdisciplinary encounters. Practitioners in the fields of art, architecture, music, film, philosophy and technology have been commissioned to create new, site-specific work in response to Kéré’s structure, offering unique ways of experiencing architecture and performance.

There will be a Champagne Taittinger reception with the fifty one award winners from around the UK and a speech from RIBA President, Jane Duncan.

With additional thanks to our exclusive awards technology partner, Microsoft, and to Cosentino who are unveiling the smart new RIBA Awards plaque which will appear on each award-winning building.

If you are able to attend, please do RSVP to

2017 RIBA National Winners Party Invitation

Review of Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies

Firmly back in London, we want to recap on a terrific journey with Dr Jonathan Foyle for his lecture tour, ‘Make thy castles high and fair’:  Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies, in partnership with the Royal Oak Foundation and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. It was wonderful to reconvene with friends in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Boston and the reception in each city was so welcoming that we look forward to coming back soon!

A huge thanks also to Jonathan for his fascinating lectures on the philosophy and concept of castles.

Using images from the Royal Institute of British Architects’ extensive collection, Dr Foyle delivered a thought-provoking and amusing romp on the shifting associations in castle design and purpose over the last thousand years. Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, Bodiam Castle, Lincoln Cathedral, Hampton Court, Tattersall castle through to a modern rental house in Nebraska, helped to decode symbols and debunking myths – such as the folklore that hot oil was poured down from the battlements on enemy combatants at the castle gates (it was, in fact, powdered lye) meant that we will truly never be able to look at castles the same way again.

Please see below for a few highlights from this wonderful trip…

Big Edit - Review of Dr Jonathan Foyle Lecture Tour April 2017

Pablo Bronstein Studio Visit in Bethnal Green London on Wednesday 5 July 2017

Ahead of the new RIBA exhibition on Pablo Bronstein in September 2017, join American Friends and Patrons for a tour of his house and meet the artist at work on Wednesday 5th July between 3pm and 5pm. Known for his architectural drawings and sculptures, Pablo creates both real and imagined buildings using drawings, sculptures and performers to interpret space and buildings. Next to the V&A Museum of Childhood, Pablo’s airy and light Bethnal Green house-cum-studio provides an inspirational setting for his work.

Pablo Bronstein Neo Georgian 2017 Courtesy Herald St, London
Pablo Bronstein Neo Georgian 2017 Courtesy Herald St, London

Patrons Summer Party on Wednesday 7 June 2017

This June, American Friends and Patrons are invited to our Summer Party in Walmer Yard, Notting Hill. Set around an open courtyard, the site includes four interlocking houses, totalling over 9,000 square feet. This unique project is a collaboration between developer and founder of Baylight Properties, Crispin Kelly, and architect and RIBA Honorary Fellow, Peter Salter, who will both host us for the evening with Champagne Taittinger sponsoring the drinks reception.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Flora Woodruff on +44 (0)20 7307 3809 or

Patrons Summer Party 2017 Invitation