RIBA and Google Arts & Culture collaborate to create a digital architectural showcase

The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced a digital collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, showcasing 15 stories free to view from the RIBA collection.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : May 26, 2021

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has partnered with Google Arts & Culture – a digital platform curated by the American tech giant that offers high-resolution images and educational tools pertaining to the archives of its partner cultural institutions worldwide. RIBA is the first dedicated architectural organisation from the UK to digitally collaborate with Google Arts & Culture.

Chiesa del Redentore, Dorsoduro, Venice, seen from the Canale della Giudecca 1880 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | STIRworld
Chiesa del Redentore, Dorsoduro, Venice, seen from the Canale della Giudecca 1880 Image: Carlo Naya, © RIBA Collections

Sections of the collection will be published across a set of 15 specially curated online stories that are free to view on the platform. In a press statement, RIBA CEO Alan Vallance shares, “Our new partnership with Google Arts & Culture creates a great opportunity to inspire and delight a global audience and to showcase our unique treasures”.

Erno Goldfinger's design for the exterior of 1-3 Willow Road, Hampstead, London, perspective view 1934 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | STIRworld
Erno Goldfinger's design for the exterior of 1-3 Willow Road, Hampstead, London, perspective view 1934 Image: © RIBA Collections

The stories will cover topics ranging from the early development of New York's Central Park to the Picturesque movement, the Bauhaus in Britain, a tour of Venice’s key landmarks, Modernist architecture in Ghana, and Olympic buildings through the past century. Selected highlights include drawings by Ernö Goldfinger, Étienne-Louis Boullée, Japanese architect Toyo Ito and Sir Charles Barry - the architect behind London 'Big Ben'.

  • Oak Bridge, Central Park, New York 1860 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | UK | STIRworld
    Oak Bridge, Central Park, New York 1860 Image: © RIBA Collections
  • Preliminary studies for the Big Ben clock tower, Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London design for the clock face 1840 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | UK | STIRworld
    Preliminary studies for the Big Ben clock tower, Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London design for the clock face 1840 Image: Sir Charles Barry

The collection also includes projects by luminaries such as Walter Gropius, Pier Luigi Nervi, Jane Drew & Maxwell Fry, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Kenzo Tange, and Zaha Hadid. Furthermore, in celebrating the work of Rafael Moneo, the Golden Lion Recipient at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, the stories will feature a study of five key projects by the Spanish architect. Early photographs of New York and Venice by photographers Carlo Ponti, Carlo Naya, and Alinari Fratelli - from as far back as the 1860s - will also be displayed as part of the online exhibition, alongside images from 1846 that depict the Louvre under construction in Paris

College of Technology, Kumasi, Ashanti Region the workshop 1956 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | UK | STIRworld
College of Technology, Kumasi, Ashanti Region the workshop 1956 Image: Peter Pitt, Architectural Press Archive, © RIBA Collections

Never-before-seen objects from more niche sections of RIBA's archives will also be featured within the stories. These include the drawings and business cards of landscape designer, Sir Humphrey Repton, private photographs from architects, portraits, along with parks and garden designs. While exhibiting the international scope of RIBA's varied and diverse archives, the exhibition will also showcase the collection’s detailed sections dedicated to British architecture.

Murcia Town Hall, Murcia 2012 (Rafael Moneo) | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | UK |  STIRworld
Murcia Town Hall, Murcia 2012 (Rafael Moneo) Image: David Cabrera, © RIBA Collections

Since its founding in 1834, RIBA has assembled one of the most diverse and extensive architectural archives in its national collection. Containing over four million items and artefacts, the collection extends from the time of the Renaissance until the modern era. It presents a rich account of global architectural evolution illustrated through books, drawings, models, photographs, portraits, and audio-visual material that forms the core of RIBA's celebrated survey shows.

Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome 1957 | RIBA & Google Arts & Culture | UK | STIRworld
Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome 1957 Image: © RIBA Collections

"RIBA has one of the world’s leading architecture collections which inspires and supports global architectural talent as we look to designing the future,” says Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture.

"Through our collaboration,” he adds, “we are proud to help share their incredible stories and resources with architecture lovers and aspiring students around the world."

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