What limited success the Modern Movement enjoyed here before the Second World War owed much to the photographs of Dell & Wainwright which the Architectural Review published throughout the 1930s. Along with the archives of other fine photographers, such as Edwin Smith, today they form part of the collection of the RIBA British Architectural Library. Now at a Screen Near You: RIBApix, an exhibition at the RIBA until 17 December, marks a new venture by the institute to make its holdings more accessible (and boost its revenue, of course).
Some 6,000 images (20,000 by 2007), including highlights from the RIBA's Drawings Collection (Piranesi, Voysey, Lutyens), are now online at www. ribapix. com, where they can be both viewed and bought.
The photograph above, however, is not one of RIBA's. Taken by Sue Barr, it shows the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin at Bechyne in the Czech Republic.
It's in an exhibition at the Architectural Association which closes on 9 December, but the AA has published an excellent book to accompany it - Zoë Opacic's Diamond Vaults:
Innovation and Geometry in Medieval Architecture (£12.50) - which includes everything in the show, indeed more.
Apparently anticipating the forms of Czech Cubism several centuries later, these 'diamond vaults' were in fact a late flourishing of Gothic in parts of Northern Europe. Barr's photos capture their sculptural quality well, but it's the drawings that really convey their great geometrical intricacy.
The book can be bought from the Triangle Bookshop in the AA's basement, which has extended opening hours (10am-6.30pm, Mon-Fri) in the run-up to Christmas (www. trianglebookshop. com). Prominent on the shelves there at present is Robert Cowan's The Dictionary of Urbanism, enthusiastically reviewed in AJ 28.04.05. Because new words and phrases in this field crop us so frequently, Cowan also edits a website, www. urbanwords. info, to keep us up to date.
New additions include frog-kissing ('getting to know people in the hope of advantage - most frogs never do become princes'), Glesga kiss ('a headbutt') and sustainababble - no definition needed for that, I would think.