With plenty of good champagne and several hundred guests, the party to launch the new RIBA/V&A architecture gallery was a very jolly affair, with commendably concise speeches from V&A trustee chair Paula Ridley, George Ferguson and Norman Foster.
Appropriate credit was given to Rod Hackney, whose phone call to the then V&A director Alan Borg set the whole idea in motion, and though the move from Portman Square has had its ups and downs in the past eight years, it is a significant achievement to unite the worldstandard collections of both institutions. A clutch of pastpresidents were there, as was the Duke of Gloucester, and hosts of the great and good from the worlds of art and architecture.
Michael Rose, chairman of the British Architectural Library Trust and the man behind the fund-raising effort, looked suitably happy despite his disappointment over the sums raised from the profession generally; hopefully more funds will come in now that the value of the work is there for all to see. George Ferguson thanked two architects in particular for their donations: Jon Assael has given a substantial five-figure sum to support the cataloguing operation, while retired Wiltshire architect Anthony Adcock is leaving his £1 million-plus estate to the library; the drawings and manuscript study rooms will be named after him and his late wife Selly. Nice to see recently retired librarian Ruth Kamen at the party - really this marked the completion of the great work she did in her three-decade stint at the institute.