About us

The British Architectural Library was founded in 1834 as the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It is the largest and most comprehensive resource in Britain for research and information on all aspects of architecture and probably the finest collection of its kind in the world. For more information go to architecture.com.

The British Architectural Library’s wealth of visual resources is drawn from four main collections:

The Photographs Collection

The Photographs Collection contains 1.5 million images of architecture world-wide in a variety of formats. The earliest photographs in the collection date from the 1850s and it includes the work of internationally renowned photographers as well as the archives of leading architectural photographers among them John Maltby, Colin Westwood, Edwin Smith, John McCann, Alastair Hunter, Henk Snoek, Crispin Boyle and John Donat. Another key component of the collection is the archive of the Architectural Press, publishers of the Architects’ Journal and Architectural Review. For more information go to architecture.com. To source illustrations from this collection not on the database:

Contact

RIBA Library Photographs Collection
RIBA
66 Portland Place
London W1B 1AD

Tel:    +44 (020) 7307 3710 / 3684
Fax:    +44 (020) 7631 1802

Email: photo@riba.org

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10.00 - 17.00.

The Drawings Collection

The Drawings Collection is the principal repository for British architectural drawings and contains the work of major British architects from the 15th century to the present among them Inigo Jones and Sir Edwin Lutyens. The 750,000 drawings also include important foreign groups such as the majority of Andrea Palladio’s surviving drawings. For more information go to architecture.com. To source illustrations from this collection not on the database:

Contact

RIBA Library Drawings Collection
Victoria and Albert Museum
South Kensington
London SW7 2RL

Tel:    +44 (020) 7307 3653 / 3628
Fax:    +44 (020) 7589 3175

Email: drawings&archives@riba.org

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 – 17:00

The Books & Periodicals Collection

The Books & Periodicals Collection includes more than 135,000 books and some 700 current journals. Of particular importance for illustrations are the Collection’s holdings of early books – 4,000 printed before 1841 – and 19th century periodicals such as The Builder. For more information go to architecture.com. To source illustrations from this collection not on the database:

Contact

RIBA Library Photographs Collection
RIBA
66 Portland Place
London W1B 1AD

Tel:    +44 (020) 7307 3710 / 3684
Fax:    +44 (020) 7631 1802

Email: photo@riba.org

Opening hours: Tuesday – Wednesday, 10:00 – 17:00; Thursday, closed; Friday, 10:00 – 17:00; Saturday, 10:00 – 13:30; Sunday – Monday, closed

The Archives Collection

The Manuscripts and Archives Collection holds papers of British architects from the 17th century to the present as well as those of architectural historians and archives of institutions and societies. Many of these contain unique visual material such as the series of sketches with which Sir Edwin Lutyens embellished his letters. For more information go to architecture.com. To source illustrations from this collection not on the database:

Contact

RIBA Archives Collection
Victoria and Albert Museum
South Kensington
London SW7 2RL

Tel:    +44 (020) 7307 3615
Fax:    +44 (020) 7589 3175

Email: drawings&archives@riba.org

Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 – 17:00