26 February to 27 April 2013 - Architecture has always been informed by the movement of ideas and looking outwards. Our towns and cities are testimony to centuries of shifts, changes and advances, so what ideas might shape the next big thing? Inspired by the ‘Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture’, the RIBA hosts a season of international exchanges, debates and special events in a quest to re-imagine architecture and celebrate big thinking.  See below for full list of all events.

13 APRIL 2013

Paper Salon – Calvert 22 Foundation, London

PaperSalon_LowResPaper Salon is an experimental architecture workshop that over the course of a day will pack in discussion, debate and drawing.

Having travelled to Moscow to learn about the work of the Paper Architects, exhibitors Ross Anderson and Anna Gibb set up Paper+ Architects with the objective of inspiring young architects to pursue visionary architecture, engage in critical discussion and explore ideas that challenge conventional thinking.

Our intention is that Paper Salon combines the best traditions of the salon – those enlightenment gatherings which aimed to increase knowledge and facilitate an exchange of ideas, with the equisse – the working out of ideas through sketching. Over the course of a day there will be an opportunity to explore the dimensions of paper architecture / visionary architecture through discussions led by a panel of experts in the field. There’s also the chance for participants to build on that dialogue through creating thir own piece of paper architecture.


10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and Introductions

Alastair Donald (Convenor, Venice Takeaway Events Programme)

10:10 – 11:10 -Session 1 – Paper Architecture / Visionary Architecture

Paper Architecture emerged as a reaction to the restrictive culture of 1980s Moscow and has been identified by Yuri Avvakumov as a genre of visionary architecture. But what does visionary architecture mean today, and what role should it play in creating the future?

Speakers: Yuri Avvakumov, AgitArch; Ross Anderson, Paper+ Architects; James McAdam, McAdam Architects; Karl Sharro, PLP Architecture / mantownhuman; Chair: Alastair Donald

11:15 -12:00 Session 2 – Drawing / Creativity

“Drawing provides the very motive force of architecture” says archigram’s Peter Cook. “It allows us to fuel our tectonic imaginations and go beyond the built and the feasible into the sphere of the visionary and the fantastic”. This session explores the relationship between drawing and the architectural imagination.

Speakers: Alan Dunlop, Alan Dunlop Architects; Anna Gibb, Paper+Architects; Austin Williams, XJTLU University, Suzhou; Chair: Alastair Donald

12.00 – 3:00 Equisse 

The main part of the day is given over to a design / drawing exercise where attendees will have the opportunity to use what they have learned in the morning about visionary architecture, critical thinking and the role of drawing.

Working in pairs, each team will have 3 hours to develop their own piece of paper architecture through developing an imaginative response to the brief for a real London site. Attendees are encouraged to use the exercise as an opportunity to develop and test new ideas.

3:30 – 5:00 - What we have learned? – Presentations / crit

The formal part of the day finishes with a crit with an invited panel of experts from architecture and associated fields. Attendees will pin up their work and talk about the issues which were addressed and the experimental design concepts that were developed.

Panel: Shumi Bose - Assistant Editor, Blueprint; Clem Cecil - Director, SAVE Britain’s Heritage; Oliver Domeisen - Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism, V & A; Maria Lisogorskaya - Assemble; John McRae - Equity Director, ORMS; Architecture Design; Vanessa Norwood - Head of Exhibitions, Architectural Association; Michael Owens - Commercial Director, Bow Arts Trust, owner, London Urban Visits; Andrea Rose - Director of Visual Arts, British Council; Amin Taha - Principal, Amin Taha Architects.

5:00 – 6:00 - Drinks Reception


International Exchanges

  • #1. The Dutch Way: From Houseboat to Water House
    Tuesday 26 February, 6 – 7.30pm
    From Buckminster Fuller’s Triton City to Kiyonori Kikutake’s Marine City, living on water has long exercised designers’ imagination. Inspired by IJburg, Amsterdam, dRMM Architects make the case for water based communities as a realistic proposition rather than just a utopian dream.
  • #2. Architect Explorers: Landscape and Transformation
    Thursday 28 Feb, 6 - 7.30pm
    What is the British Exploratory Land Archive (BELA)? How can architects learn from the landscape? Inspired by the Centre for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles, Smout Allen and Geoff Manaugh outline proposals for exploring and mapping the land uses in the UK with fresh eyes and new potential.
  • #3. Itsuko Hasegawa: Ordinary and Heroic
    Wednesday 6 March, 6 – 7.30pm
    Known for kicking against the grain of architectural fashion, this lecture by Itsuko Hasegawa reveals the drivers behind her work and explores the notion of design leadership in the creation of architecture that is both ordinary and heroic.
  • #4. Fideicomiso! Putting Architecture at the Heart of Housing
    Tuesday 23 April, 6.30 – 7.30pm
    In Argentina ’Fideicomiso’ is a form of legal trust that enables the development of housing by groups of future occupiers who take the role of clients and work directly with architects. At a time of housing shortages, how could this model be applied in the UK?
  • #5. Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA): Berlin and Belfast
    Tuesday 23 April, 7.45 – 8.45pm
    The IBA in West Berlin was a far-sighted urban renewal project completed in 1987. How could the model of an international building exhibition be used to deliver better quality architecture in the UK?


  • Constraint and Creativity: Is Red Tape the Enemy of Architecture?
    Tuesday 5 March, 6.30 – 8pm
    In comparison to other countries, the UK is regarded as a place stifled by red tape and risk aversion. Does the government’s proposals to tear up Building Regulations threaten design quality or could it set the architectural imagination free?

Special events

  • Discussion Bureau
    Open Charter Agency: Image of the architect
    26 February & 26 March, 6 – 9pm
    The Open Charter Agency is a new platform for the public to explore how architects might act as agents of change and thoughts on the profession. Express your views and let them know what you think at the OCA Bureau.
  • Spring Last Tuesday
    Visionaries and Dreamers
    Tuesday 26 March, 6 – 10pm
    Discover more about visionary architecture and how imaginative thinking has travelled the world with a special late evening of talks, events, film, workshops and more inspired by the Venice Takeaway exhibition.
  • Creative family workshop
    Fantastical Cities
    Saturday 6 April, 11am – 2pm
    Bright ideas can come from anywhere at any age. Using international architecture as inspiration from the RIBA’s collections – fold, draw, cut, stick and colour to create a new spectacular cityscape. Families are invited to enjoy getting creative together
  • Drawing Salon
  • Paper+ Architects
    Saturday 13 April, 10am - 5pm
    Inspired by Russian investigations, this drawing event is a chance for young architects to hone the development of creative ideas in response to a current London competition brief.   Attendance at this experimental event is by invitation only.  A film will be available in due course.


Nature or Nurture?

A Swiss/UK Weekender on cultures of research, teaching and practice.


1. Nurture?

Models of teaching and research, and their relationship to contemporary practice.

Friday 19th October 6:00 pm

Round-table discussion with Sabine von Fischer, Jean-Paul Jaccaud, Samuel Penn, Jonathan Sergison, Peter Staub, Astrid Staufer. Chaired by Vicky Richardson.

What is the significance of differing structures of architectural education for how architects see their practice? And how do specific cultures of teaching and research feed into and inform this practice? This discussion focuses on teaching, pedagogy and research in architecture, bringing U K and Swiss practitioners and academics together to question its significance in their own practice and for the development of architecture as a whole.

2. Nature?

Contexts and cultures of building and practice, and their role as active research.

Saturday 20th October 6:00 pm

Round-table discussion with Nicholas Lobo Brennen, Emanuel Christ, Andrea Deplazes, Tom Emerson, Elli Mosayebi. Chaired by Irina Davidovici.

What are the commonalities and differences in the practice of architecture, between the U K, Switzerland and elsewhere? How does this reflect cultural differences as a whole? And what are the current factors that are changing and moulding the development of practice into the future? This discussion focuses on differing practices of architecture, considering how the reciprocal interest and influence between UK and Swiss practitioners over the last 25 years is changing today.

Nature or Nurture is organised by the Swiss Arts Council in partnership with the British Council

Full details of all Salon Suisse events can be found here 


Critical Dialogues

Critical Dialogues, this year’s Scottish contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale, showcases projects from four emerging practices in order to explore the social role of the architect and the creative boundaries of architecture. A week long series of events within the public realm, the projects play with a series of popular themes that have their roots in the long history of alternative architectural and urban practice.

Critical Dialogues runs from Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 September, 3-7pm To find out more, visit Scotland + Venice

Salon Suisse

Switching to Analogue: what is the influence of Analogue Architecture on theory and practice today?

What has the legacy of analogue architecture been for architectural culture, both in Switzerland and internationally? This discussion considers key concepts coming out of analogue architecture and its teaching – in attitude to site and the city, to ideas of ‘old-new’ and ‘atmosphere’ in architecture – and its connection to the work of Aldo Rossi and Robert Venturi, seeking to reassess its influence and relevance to theory and practice today.

The British Council is supporting this round table discussion with Christoph Gantenbein, Penny Lewis, Quintus Miller, Stanislaus von Moos, and Steven Spier. Chaired by Rob Wilson.

Wednesday 29th August 2012 11:00 am

Salon Suisse — Palazzo Trevisan, degli Ulivi, Campo S. Agnese, Dorsoduro 810, Venice

Exploring the Common Ground

The Venice Takeaway Slide Show

Curators Vanessa Norwood and Vicky Richardson introduce the ten architectural teams who travelled to locations around the world to seek imaginative responses to universal issues

Tuesday 28 August, 4.00pm – 6.30pm at the British Pavilion /Piano terra

Official Opening

The British Pavilion presents Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture at the 13th international Architecture exhibition La Biennale de Venizia

Lord Hall, Chair of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in London, will join Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council, to officially open the British Pavilion.

Monday 27 August 2012, 4:30pm at the British Pavilion