The Brutalist Playground is open…

Part sculpture, part architectural installation, all play. The Brutalist Playground is an acclaimed new commission by Assemble and artist Simon Terrill exploring post-war design for play at RIBA’s HQ in 66 Portland Place. The exhibition opened last week and will be on until 16 August 2015 in the Architecture Gallery at 66 Portland Place. There are plenty of activities, workshops, talks and events surrounding this exhibition and for more information please on the exhibition, please refer to

And don’t forget to you can explore the Brutalist Playground exhibition online by clicking here.

Popular Palladio

Having returned from a wonderful trip accompanying RIBA’s Chief Curator Charles Hind on his sell-out lecture tour, Palladianism, Four Centuries of Style, with the Royal Oak Foundation, we were delighted to meet old friends and new in Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Chicago and Charleston. Each city was hugely welcoming and we look forward to revisiting them in the future.

A huge thanks to the Royal Oak Foundation for organizing a incredible tour and to Charles for his fascinating lectures on the influence of Palladian design through the ages. His lectures precede the Fall exhibition on the subject which will take place at RIBA’s London HQ – 66 Portland Place. We look forward to welcoming as many American Friends as possible to what promises to be an enlightening and refreshing look at the subject of arguably the most pervading architectural style.

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


Charles Rennie Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition

The Beginning of the Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition
The Beginning of the Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition opened to great acclaim at our headquarters at 66 Portland Place in London and will be on until 23rd May 2015.

Celebrated worldwide, Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of the leading figures of late 19th and early 20th Century architecture. Mackintosh Architecture charts a career marked as much by its difficulties as by its successes. It is the first substantial exhibition to be devoted to his architecture and features over 60 original drawings and watercolours, as well as models, films and portraits. Seen together they reveal the evolution of his style from his early apprenticeship to his later projects as an individual architect and designer.
For more information on the exhibition and accompanying programme, please click here

A view of the Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition
A view of the Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition



September 2014

Welcome to the inaugural American Friends of the British Architectural Library Newsletter!


Stirling Prize Shortlist 2014Stirling Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 includes The Shard by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins, Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley, LSE’s Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects and the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo. The winner will be announced on 16th October 2014.

Upcoming Events:

Edwin Smith Photography‘Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith’ – 10th September until 6th December 2014

RIBA 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

The first retrospective of Edwin Smith, one of Britain’s foremost 20th-century photographers. Smith was lauded by contemporaries Cecil Beaton and Sir John Betjeman and his photographs bring to life British social history through urban scenes, evocative landscape images and atmospheric interiors.

Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith will display over 100 extraordinary photographs from a collection of over 60,000 negatives and 20,000 prints in the RIBA Collections. Alongside his images of Britain the exhibition will show photographs taken on his travels to Europe as well as his published books and photographic equipment. Specially filmed contributions including those from Alan Bennett  and broadcaster Gillian Darley offer personal perspectives of Smith’s work.

Roofscape, Whitby, North Yorkshire. (c) Edwin Smith, RIBA Library

Mackintosh Architecture

Mackintosh Architecture – Monday 6th October 2014 from 6.30pm. RSVP essential.

RIBA 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

We invite you to join Pamela Robertson, Professor of Mackintosh Studies as the University Glasgow, and RIBA curators to discuss Charles Rennie Mackintosh the Architect. Mackintosh-related items from the Library collections will be on view.


Stirling Prize Ceremony 2014

RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 Ceremony – Thursday 16th October 2014 from 6.30pm RSVP essential.

RIBA 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

Returning to the home of British architecture, this year’s event will be held at the RIBA, Portland Place. Join us for the live announcement of the RIBA Stirling Prize winner in the Jarvis Auditorium followed by a celebratory stand up reception in the architecturally impressive surroundings of the Florence Hall. The ceremony will be hosted by journalist, news broadcaster and RIBA Honorary Fellow, Kirsty Wark

Detail of SerlioAFBAL Autumn Drinks Party and Collections Reveal Preview – Monday 3rd November 2014 from 6.30pm. RSVP essential.

7WTC, New York 10007

The American Friends of the British Architectural Library with Daniel and Nina Libeskind invite you to join them for a drinks reception and special presentation of ‘star objects’ from the British Architectural Library at 7 World Trade Center. A special viewing of the following original objects, selected by Daniel Libeskind, will be on display, some of which have never been seen before in the USA. Existing American Friends are invited to a preview drinks from 6pm. Invitation to follow.

Details of Serlio’s ‘Tutte l’opere d’architettura, et prospettiva, di Sebastiano Serlio Bolognese’ c.1619

Object in focus:

Image in Focus : Edwin Smith Palladio Andrea Palladio and Vincenzo Scamozzi ‘s Teatro Olimipco in Vicenza Italy.

Andrea Palladio was born in the Veneto, a region in the North East of Italy whose major city, Venice, is universally renowned for the richness of its cultural heritage and its unique geographical configuration. The region also counts other remarkable historical and artistic centres, such as Vicenza, Verona and Padua. This photograph of the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza was taken by Edwin Smith in 1963.

Photograph by Edwin Smith / RIBA Library Photographs Collection. Image date 1963.

 In the News:

In the News : Gherkin 30 St Mary Axe “Gherkin” up for sale

One of London’s most recognisable landmarks, the Gherkin, which was designed by Lord Foster and opened in 2004, has been put up for sale. It is expected to be snapped up by an overseas buyer and with Savills and Deloitte Real Estate indicating they would be looking to close the deal by the end of September or the beginning of October.

Story Link:

In the News : New WTC LogoWTC Logo

Landor has created the new identity for the World Trade Center development in New York – a complex of buildings on the site of the original Twin Towers which were destroyed in the attacks on 11 September 2001.

Story Link:

RIBA’s new Architecture Gallery

The new Architecture Gallery at The RIBA
The new Architecture Gallery at The RIBA

AFBAL is delighted to have supported the creation of RIBA’s new Architecture Gallery, which opened on 13 February 2014 in its Grade II* listed Art Deco headquarters in London. Through regular, free exhibitions that explore the past, present and future of our built environment the gallery programme will help visitors discover and explore architecture. It is an opportunity to show highlights from the collections of the British Architectural Library, one of the world’s greatest architectural collections, and to collaborate with other institutions, including those in the US.

The current show, The Brits Who Built the Modern World, which celebrates the generation of five major architects (Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw and Michael & Patty Hopkins) has opened to acclaim from both the press and public. The show is open until 27 May 2014.

A new gallery for 66 Portland Place

The Royal Institute of British Architects is building a state of the art, museum-quality exhibition gallery at our headquarters on 66 Portland Place, London. The new gallery will showcase the RIBA’s world-class collections to all, bringing some of the four million items to life through exhibitions that explore the past, present and future of architecture.

Opening in February 2014, the inaugural exhibition – The Brits Who Built the Modern World – will celebrate an era of extraordinary change and chart the influence of British architecture abroad, 1950 to present day.

We would be delighted if our American Friends could join us for a private view and tour of the new gallery and exhibition. Details of opening celebrations will follow shortly.

New RIBA by Carmody Groarke
RIBA Gallery Model Photograph – View from-entrance of 66 Portland Place