Planning application for £85m ‘House of Architecture’ project to be submitted later this year

Weymouth Street Cafe RIBA

View from Weymouth Street cafe

The RIBA’s £85m plans to refurbish its Marylebone headquarters have been given a public airing at a first round of public consultation.

The Benedetti Architects-designed scheme is part of the RIBA’s plans to transform its 66 Portland Place into a ’House of Architecture’ under plans first unveiled by former president Simon Allford.

The refurbishment and restoration of the grade II*-listed 1930s building would add a new collections centre which would house RIBA’s house its architectural collections and improve digital and cataloguing facilities.

It would also include a new cafe with pavement seating on Weymouth Street, a relocated shop, bigger lifts, enhanced event spaces, a ‘treasures room’ housing important exhibits and improvements to energy usage and accessibility.

The first round of consultation, which was in the form of an online survey, closed last month with a second round set to launch later this year.

A planning application is expected to be submitted towards the end of the year and a new digital platform for RIBA’s collections will launch in early 2025. Construction of the building’s refurbishment is scheduled to start in early 2026 and complete in 2028.

> Also read: The Architecture Drawing Book: RIBA Collections

Muyika Oki, the president at RIBA said: “House of Architecture is about unlocking and opening RIBA to make it - and everything it offers - far more accessible. It will ensure that we can encourage more people to care about architecture, promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation.”

RIBA’s collections consist of over four million items including manuscripts, drawings, books artefacts and audio recordings. 

RIBA refurb 2

Another view of RIBA’s plans for the House of Architecture project at 66 Portland Place