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RIBA going underground with new Wednesday night event

Portland Place

A new weekly evening cultural event at 66 Portland Place will bring ‘new life and energy into the iconic building in Portland Place’, according to its creator

The Architects Underground, which will be held every Wednesday from September 11, is billed as a live arts magazine and has been created by Rob Dickins  the music industry boss and chair of the RIBA’s British Architectural Trust Board (BATB).

Talks are planned by the likes of music producer Giles Martin, artist Alison Jackson and movie special effects master Paul Franklin, with the aim of bringing architects and designers, as well as artists, media figures and the ‘culturally curious’ into Portland Place. Guests will enter at neighbouring number 68 into the Members Bar.

‘In a world where we are fixated by screens, this is going to be a place to network, have fun and be informed,’ Dickins told the AJ.

‘People in the arts have interest in architecture and people in architecture have interest in the arts.

‘It’s for everyone but members will get in free and those with student union cards will get in free. I really want more young people to come into this space.’

Rob dickins webcrop

The Architects’ Underground was originally due to be named the Architects’ Club but this proposal was dropped due to a clash with London’s similarly named Architecture Club, which is chaired by former BATB chair John Tusa.

Dickens (pictured), a powerful pop music figure in the 1980s and ’90s and the former chair of Warner Music UK, has overseen a revamp of receptions rooms within RIBA HQ and the Jarvis Hall. The hall has been fitted out with improved audio-visual equipment for film presentations and speeches.

Meanwhile the members bar now boasts a Bauhaus theme and will be serving specially themed cocktails named after famous architects during the Wednesday night events.

Dickins added: ‘Architecture and the architect will be the common thread running through every night alongside the full range of creative and cultural practices. I look forward to The Architects Underground bringing new life and energy into the iconic building in Portland Place.’

RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire, said: ‘This will be a fast paced, moveable feast, designed to keep the culturally curious on their toes, and spread the news even wider that RIBA is open to all and a place to go for inspiration.’

Others speaking at The Architects Underground this autumn include architect Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu and former chairman of the Arts Council Christopher Frayling.


Readers' comments (2)

  • This could be really good programming, but I think would only be really successful if it was off-site, popping up in unusual architectures, and engaging with a wider crowd.

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  • Agree with Will Jennings's comment above. Should be more inclusive and daring/brave enough to step outside of 66 Portland Place.

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