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 Patrons@riba.org.

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

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@riba.org.

Patrons Summer Party 2017 Invitation

Denys Lasdun Apartment Tour and Drinks Reception on Wednesday 17 May 2017

American Friends are invited to join us for a drinks reception in a stunning Denys Lasdun building overlooking Green Park and Spencer House on Wednesday 17th May 2017.

The block, built on the site of two Georgian houses destroyed during the war, is considered to be Lasdun’s first mature work and it won a RIBA London award in 1960. The block plays with height, with split levels and different ceiling heights throughout. In more recent times, two of the luxury apartments have become one stunning home to a well-known British Entrepreneur and patron of the arts.

We are delighted to invite you to drinks with the owners and their architect Jamie Fobert, to learn more about this project.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Flora Woodruff on +44 (0)20 7307 3809 or Patrons@riba.org

Denys Lasdun Apartment Block (left) next to Spencer House (right) overlooking Green Park © RIBA Collections

Exploring De Beauvoir Town, Hackney on Wednesday 26 April 2017

American Friends are invited to join us for a exploration of London’s De Beauvoir Town on the afternoon of Wednesday 26th April 2017. Between Islington and Dalston, in the south-west corner of Hackney, De Beauvoir Town is something of a haven for artists and designers.  You are invited to join us for an afternoon exploring this conservation area, we’ll visit two stunning architect designed homes, one a new build, the other a transformed Victorian property. We’ll also meet the ceramicist Kate Malone in her studio.

Please RSVP 020 7307 3701 or email Patrons@riba.org

Kate Malone, Ceramic Studio

Kate Malone is one of Britain’s most well-known ceramicists.

Her work is often inspired by exotic travels, the growth patterns and ripeness of nature.  Using strong colours and sumptuous crystalline glazes, her work communicates a ‘feel good factor’ through optimistic cladding of her forms with abundant sculptural details. 10,000 hand-glazed, hand-fired tiles by Kate form the stunning cladding of EPR’s 24 Saville Row.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art and a judge on BBC’s and a judge on BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down  she will open the doors to her London studio for us.

Edit - Kate Malone, Ceramic Studio


Sunken House

Built in 2007, Sunken House is the home of Ed Reeve, architectural and luxury brand photographer. Designed in collaboration with David Adjaye the house sits on a former infill site in the heart of a conservation area. A sold timber load-bearing superstructure offers improved thermal and acoustic performance and a reduced carbon footprint. Natural and artificial lighting, picture windows and thick interior doors help to create both a frame to and sanctuary from the world outside.

Excavated to basement level the result is a three storey family home that has been inspired by the Victorian villas and workshops that surround it. Prefabricated laminated timber panels have lent itself to the moniker “Ed’s Shed”.

Sunken House © Ed Reeve

De Beauvoir House

Completed earlier this year, De Beauvoir House is a unique remodel and two storey extension of a Victorian, semi-detached family home. The client brief was to harmonise the layout of the internal spaces, making them work for their growing family’s needs. Architects Cousins and Cousins solution was a rear extension, a lightweight structural glulam timber insertion which frames a series of newly created modern spaces connected via a bespoke steel staircase.

De Beauvoir House © Cousins and Cousins

Spring 2017 US Lecture Tour Dates Published

We are very pleased to announce the dates and locations for the US lecture tour, ‘Make thy castles high and fair’:  Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies, which Dr Jonathan Foyle will be giving on behalf of AFBAL for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Royal Oak Foundation this April.

Please see below for the dates and locations:

Boston: Tuesday 18 April
Philadelphia: Wednesday 19 April
New York: Thursday 20 April
Washington DC: Monday 24 April

Don’t forget to use our co-sponsor code 17SRIBA for discounted tickets at $30 each.

Dr Jonathan Foyle Biography:

Dr Jonathan Foyle was a Curator of Historic Buildings at Hampton Court for eight years, and took his PhD on reconstructing Wolsey’s palace prior to Henry VIII’s adoption of it. Having headed the British branch of the New York-based World Monuments Fund for eight years at projects including Coventry and St Paul’s Cathedrals, Stowe House and Hawksmoor’s St George’s Church in Bloomsbury, he is now an author, presenter and consultant. Since 2012 he has been a frequent writer for the Financial Times on issues of architecture, history and craft, and is currently completing his fourth cathedral monograph: Canterbury, Lincoln, Lichfield- now Peterborough. A presenter of numerous series on UK and US television, including BBC’s 15-part ‘Climbing Great Buildings’ – he co-presents a new series, ‘Restoration of the Year’ on Channel 4 this spring. He lives in an old house in Somerset, near Bath.

Dr Jonathan Foyle
Dr Jonathan Foyle

‘Make thy castles high and fair’:  Medieval Castles to Modern Fantasies:

What is a ‘castle’? While the term is now often applied to a stately home to imply monumental scale or status, its use originally indicated a fortified military residence. But to what extent were castles defensible and against whom? What does the use of the “castle” style mean in architecture when it is applied to churches—such as the western block of Lincoln Cathedral—or civic buildings? If Cardinal Wolsey was never a warrior, why does Hampton Court (1515-28) look like a castle, complete with a moat? Architectural historian Dr. Jonathan Foyle will explore the shifting associations in castle design and purpose over the last thousand years using images from the Royal Institute of British Architects’ extensive collection. He will demonstrate how the religious and political purposes of buildings later changed to become representational of political authority—such as the early medieval castle Bodiam in Sussex (a National Trust property). He will explain how Britain’s castles gave way to palatial residences as cultural values changed during the 16th and 17th century. He will also show how castles were associated with romantic rather than defensible ideals reflected in Georgian and Victorian designs—such as Penrhyn Castle, Wales—and inform our modern preconception today.

RIBA3825 Robert Elwall 1999 Photograph of Bodiam from 1385 c Robert Elwall RIBA Collections
Robert Elwall’s 1999 Photograph of Bodiam from 1385 © Robert Elwall RIBA Collections

Calling all Patrons of Architecture: Destination Glasgow on 14 – 16 June 2017

Victorian opulence, hidden Mackintosh, a Brutalist utopia and award-winning contemporary architecture: we invite you to join us on this eye-opening tour exclusively for Patrons of Architecture and American Patrons of the British Architectural Library from Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th June 2017.

The costs are £990 per person (+£180 single person supplement) including accommodation, meals, local transport and all costs associated with the itinerary. Transport to and from Glasgow is not included.

In addition, we ask participants to give a donation of £500 per person to support the work of RIBA’s British Architectural Library (charity no. 210566)

To whet your appetite, the schedule will include:

  • Special access to St Peter’s Seminary, the defining work of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. Completed in 1966 and abandoned in the 1980s, its crumbling and defaced structure is being reclaimed as a dramatic setting for public art, performance, learning and debate by NVA.
  • A hard-hat tour of ‘The Mack’, the Glasgow School of Art building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1909 and devastated by fire in 2014. It is a unique moment to see the skeleton of the gutted library and hear the myriad questions the restoration project presents.
  • A personal invitation to Windyhill, one of only two homes designed by Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald and the only one still in private hands. Immaculately restored, it reflects the full range of influences on Mackintosh’s work, from Japanese art to early European modernism.
  • A boat trip along the Clyde, home to ambitious international architecture, with buildings by Hadid, Foster and Chipperfield, as well as the Stirling Prize-shortlisted City of Glasgow College by Michael Laird Architects and Reiach and Hall Architects.
  • An Evening Reception to meet and celebrate those shaping Glasgow’s reputation as a world-leading architectural destination, from visionary commissioners to the architects and designers themselves.
  • Two nights’ accommodation in a superior room at the five-star Blythswood Square, a grand example of Regency architecture now home to a fine collection of Scottish paintings and plenty of Harris Tweed.

To register your interest in Destination Glasgow! or for more information on the Patrons of Architecture and American Patrons of the British Architectural Library please contact Flora Woodruff on +44 (0)20 7307 3701 or patrons@riba.org or info@afbal.org


Visit DSDHA’s Award-winning Covert House on Wednesday 15 March 2017

American Friends are invited to join a tour of DSDHA’s RIBA Award-winning Covert House on Wednesday 15th March 2017. The house is comprised of two interlocked cubes, semi-underground with mirror reveals to minimise its presence in a conservation area.

We are then invited to a private apartment remodelled by Woollacott Gilmartin Architects to showcase post-war British and Brazilian art and furniture as well as beautiful views over Green Park.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Flora Woodruff on +44 (0)20 7307 3809 or Patrons@riba.org.coverthouse_christofferrudquist5

Patrons Christmas Party on Thursday 8 December 2016

This Christmas, American Friends and Patrons are invited to an 1860s house on Hyde Park, the former home of The Royal Society of Literature with a varied and interesting history. Architect Thomas Croft and interior designer Francis Sultana have remodelled the house into a modern family home which includes specially commissioned furniture by Mattia Bonetti, Fredrikson Stallard and others.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Flora Woodruff on +44 (0)20 7307 3809 or Patrons@riba.org.