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Institutional Member

RIBA British Architectural Library

British Architectural Library is one of the largest and most diverse architectural collections in the world. Over four million items together represent a unique body of knowledge that is rich and global in scope.

Exhibition Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith, at the RIBA Architecture Gallery. ©Richard Bryant

The RIBA Drawings Collection includes almost one million architectural drawings, from sketches and preliminary designs to presentation and technical drawings. The collection is particularly strong in British architecture, with all significant architects from the Renaissance to the present day represented in some form. Major groups include the work of Inigo Jones, Sir Christopher Wren, and several generations of the Wyatt, Pugin, Scott, and Waterhouse families. More recent collections include the surviving drawings of Edwin Lutyens, Ernö Goldfinger, and Denys Lasdun. The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection comprises around 1.5 million images from the earliest days of photography to the present day. The collection includes the photographic archives of individual architects or practices, travel and topographic images from across the world, press photographs from major architectural journals, and large bodies of work by some of the best known architectural photographers of the 20th century. We hold a wide range of objects and artefacts documenting the evolution of the architectural profession over the past four centuries. This collection includes drawing tables, stools, plan chests and measuring instruments, offering insight into the changing environment of the architecture office. Smaller items include coins, architecture themed toys, and the RIBA silver collection. Our archives and manuscripts collection includes the personal correspondence, journals, notebooks, administrative files, and unpublished texts of world-famous British architects. Archive material can be accessed through:

Library Holdings
Our Library Reading Room holds books and journals related to every aspect of architectural practice and research. With over 150,000 books in the collection, and 100 new titles added every month, it is one of the leading resources in the country for the study of architecture and architectural history. The collection covers a wide range of subjects, including all building types, architectural monographs, history and theory, town planning, sustainability, and architectural law and practice. We also provide access to around 2,240 periodical titles (600 of which are current).

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