A VISIT BY MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS
Yesterday afternoon, Ruth Reed, RIBA President, Jonathan B. Wimpenny, RIBA-USA President, and a dozen or so members of The Royal Institute of British Architects popped up to the library for a guided tour of our Unrealized Architecture exhibit and a private review of some rare architectural highlights from our library collection. Since I had learned that President Reed had come all the way down to Miami Beach from London, I naturally stacked the deck in laying out the materials on our reading room tables to emphasize some of the great British architects represented in holdings, such as Sir Edwin Lutyens (British, 1869-1944).
Immediately following our institutional transformation from a private collection to a public institution in 1995, we received as a gift the Beaux Art architectural reference library of George B. Post architectural firm. This most generous donation now takes up two shelve units in our back stacks and includes a number of valuable works documenting a wide range of English architectural styles from the later Renaissance to the early twentieth century.
We also have a decent number of books elsewhere in our collection that focus such important architectural movements as the British Arts & Crafts; designs and plans for workers housing developments, such as Port Sunlight; city garden, city beautiful, and town planning projects; designs for modern dwellings and living spaces; and even some plans for the post war reconstruction of London.
Of course, the group was interested in architectural works beyond the insular borders of England, so we had also laid out some portfolio plates from masters such as Joseph Maria Olbrich (Austrian, 1867-1908).
The group appeared to be especially taken with a set of French pochoir (stencilwork) portfolio prints from the mid-1920s designed to promote Art Deco architectural interior designs through the use of vibrant colors.
Hopefully their brief visit (and its recap in this blog) will spread the word about our rich architectural holdings and inspire future visits by many more architects and architecture aficionados.