In partnership with RIBA, the V&A holds a large collection of two- and three-dimensional architectural designs. These sketchbooks and models provide an insight into centuries of architectural innovation.
Designs by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, 1726–31
These lavish and imposing designs by Meissonnier for the Palace and Church of the Order of the Holy Spirit in Paris was intended for the Quai des Augustins but was never executed. They were created in 1726-31, just before the emergence of the mid- 18th century mania for town planning that stemmed from the contest for the creation of the new 'Place Louis XV' in Paris.
Design for a Vaulted Ceiling, by Vincenzo Brenna, about 1775
This highly finished and elegantly drawn design was executed by the Italian architect, interior decorator and decorative painter Vincenzo Brenna (1745-1820) around 1776. It represents the vault of the Eagle Room of the Domus Aurea, the Roman palace built by Emperor Nero shortly after the great fire of Rome in AD 64.
The Modern Shop: Architecture & Shopping between the Wars
In the 1920s and 1930s architects produced a number of striking shop designs in Britain. Influenced by the 1925 Paris Exhibition and other Continental examples, many shops and chain stores rebuilt their premises, or at least modernised their façades. Architects became interested in shop design, using marble, neon and chrome, and critics praised the way in which the Modern Movement revitalised this sphere of design. Many of these innovative interiors and façades are now sadly gone.
Designs for Prefabricated House Fronts, by Berthold Lubetkin, 1949
Modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin created these theoretical designs for the 100 Houses Scheme, Thorntree Gill Housing, Peterlee, County Durham, drawing by Peter Yates, to show how different facades could transform a basic prefabricated house. Lubetkin's ideas range from the everyday to the absurd, but they effecitvely demonstrate how easily identical frameworks can be transformed.
Designs for the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, by Mies van der Rohe, 1968
These recent acquisitions are the first examples of architectural work by Mies van der Rohe to enter the V&A's collections. Representing a seminal project by one of the foremost architects of the 20th century, these prints plug a crucial gap in the Word & Image Department's extensive collection of architectural prints and drawings.
Archigram: The Walking City, Living Pod and the Instant City
This panel was created by the radical collective, Archigram (from ARCHItecture and teleGRAM) and uses collage to showcase 3 experimental British architectural design of the 1960s. They include Walking City, a peripatetic giant reptilian structure, Living Pod a minature capsule home and Instant City, an airship containing all the cultural and education resources of a metropolis which could land in remote areas giving inhabitants a taste of city life.
Video: A Virtual Tour of the Phaeno Science Center
Take a Virtual Tour of the Phaeno Science Center, Germany. This innovative concrete structure was completed in 2005. The fly-through animation takes us around the structure using the architects actual computer model. Fly-through animations like this one are used to present designs to clients and test how the building will eventually look.
Archives of Sir Hugh Casson and Margaret Macdonald Casson
The archives of Sir Hugh Casson (1910–1999) and Margaret Macdonald Casson (1913–1999) are important additions to the Museum’s collection of papers of twentieth-century British designers. The archives, which were generously donated by the Casson’s daughters, contain a wealth of material relating to their careers as architects and designers.
In 2004 RIBA and the V&A opened the first museum gallery in the country dedicated to architecture in the UK. It provides an accessible and engaging introduction to the art, use and practice of architecture. On display are models, drawings and designs, and samples of materials, as well as photographs and fragments of buildings.