RIBA HQ at 66 Portland Place: Future

RIBA HQ Building London, 66 Portland Place Future, Consultation, Architecture, Architect, Photo

RIBA HQ at 66 Portland Place

Royal Institute of British Architects Open Consultation on Future Use, London, England, UK

5 Feb 2016

Future of RIBA’s HQ at 66 Portland Place

New Royal Institute of British Architects Offices

Fresh ideas sought for future of RIBA’s HQ at 66 Portland Place

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has launched an open consultation on the future use of its landmark Art Deco HQ building in central London.

The first part of the consultation strategy is an online survey, to be followed by focus group sessions to gather more detail.

RIBA Building London by evening:
RIBA Building London by evening
photograph © The RIBA

RIBA Client Advisor, Sarah Williams said:

“This survey is the start of a detailed process which will include defining the role that 66 Portland Place plays in the RIBA’s long term vision and values. Our detailed consultation will gather views and ideas from our members, staff and other users of the building including visitors, neighbours, meeting room clients, cultural partners, sponsors and patrons.

“I encourage everyone to participate to help us shape the use of this important building for the next 80 years.”

66 Portland Place is open to the public and RIBA members alike and is home to the British Architectural Library, Architecture Gallery, RIBA Bookshop, President’s Office, RIBA Council Chamber, first floor Bistro and ground floor Café/Bar and has a number of dedicated spaces available for private hire events and conferences, including the Jarvis Auditorium and the Florence Hall. In 2015 RIBA’s administrative staff relocated to modern office space at 76 Portland Place.

To participate in the survey and learn more about the consultation for 66 Portland Place at: www.architecture.com/Reimagining66PP

RIBA Building London:
RIBA Building London in 2012
photo © Adrian Welch

66 Portland Place was designed by George Grey Wornum. He was the winner of the competition to design the new headquarters for the RIBA, which attracted submissions from 284 entrants. Building work commenced in mid-1933 and completed in time for RIBA’s 100th anniversary, enabling a move out of the overcrowded conditions at the former headquarters, 9 Conduit Street, London.

At a time of heated debate about what architectural style we should be using and during an economic downturn, Wornum’s building opened on time and on a reduced budget. The feedback was positive. He had successfully combined Classical and Modernist elements, and provided the institute and its members a completed building fit for purpose and adaptable to changing needs.

Wornum worked with a range of artists and craftsmen to create the decoration in the interiors and on the facade. Many of these details carry symbolic significance, for example the main entrance is flanked by two bronze doors depicting ‘London’s river and its buildings’. There are also references to the British Empire, reflecting the idea that in 1934 the RIBA was a focal point for architecture in the Empire. In 1970 the building was Grade II* listed, one of the first ‘modern’ buildings to be listed to recognise its unique architectural qualities.

The six storey, steel framed building faced in Portland stone (the two upper floors were added in 1958) contains a series of spaces which vary in size and function. The building survived World War II unscathed and has only experienced minor modifications since it was extended in 1958. The most recent change has been the creation of the Architecture Gallery on the ground floor, opened in 2014.

A Reimagining 66 Portland Place Steering Group will facilitate the process of the project and report back to back to RIBA Council on development and progress. The group is made up of representative from the senior team and council members and includes:

o Sarah Williams, S Williams Architects – Client Adviser
o Albena Atanassova, RIBA Associate Councillor and Ambassador for Young Architects
o Christopher Ash, Chair RIBA Premises Sub-committee
o Jane Duncan, RIBA President
o Tim Bailey, RIBA Councillor and Board Member
o Stephen Hodder MBE, RIBA Immediate Past President
o Martin Pascoe, RIBA Head of Projects and Building Strategy/House Architect
o Vinesh Pomal, RIBA Councillor and Ambassador for Young Architects
o Elena Tsolakis, RIBA Member and Ambassador for Culture

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates www.twitter.com/RIBA

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RIBA Building – frontage:
RIBA London Building
RIBA photo © Adrian Welch

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RIBA Galleries:
RIBA Galleries RIBA Galleries
images © Carmody Groarke & The RIBA

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RIBA London Building
RIBA building London
photo © Adrian Welch

Architect: George Grey Wornum
Status: Grade II* listed

RIBA Building frontage:
RIBA Building
RIBA photo © Adrian Welch

Location: east side of Portland Place at corner with Weymouth Street


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