Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Royal Institute of British Architects, Portland Place W1

The RIBA is a building with rich layers of irony.
It is both forward looking and reactionary, a simple modernist cuboid but clad in stone, and it is devoted to architecture but helps destroy one of Europe's finest architectural compositions.
Even the sculpture looks rather old-fashioned - international modernism already had its hands firmly round the throat of the architectural establishment in 1932 when the competition to build it was won by Guy Wornum. Fortunately, the carved figures are of the highest quality.
Nottingham-born James Woodford did the man and woman that stand on pylons on either side of the front door with its magnificent bronze doors, also by Woodford. They look admiringly up at the central figure of Architectural Aspiration, of which more later.


Capability Bowes said...

Why is it that institutions like this are always in such awful buildings? Have you seen The Design Council building opposite the Royal Opera House? *shudder*

Matt Wardman said...

Personally I like the RIBA building - especially from the inside :-).

But the last time I was there there was an exhibition of work by - I think - Anish Kapoor. Ouch.