Visit London Blog » RIBA Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London’s Lost Chinatown: Last Tuesdays at RIBA Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:00:27 +0000

The last Tuesday of every month is open house night at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Each month, the RIBA’s 66 Portland Place headquarters puts on a range of talks, tours, exhibitions and film screenings around a single topic.

October’s event, City Stories!, focused on great cities and their hidden histories, and included a fascinating talk by Dr Yat Ming Loo on London’s first Chinatown.

From the mid-nineteenth century Chinese seamen from Canton and Shanghai settled close to Limehouse Docks, with communities emerging on Limehouse Causeway, Pennyfields and Amoy Place.

Between the 1890s and 1920s the area become notorious as a place of gambling, opium dens and evocative smells – the legend of Fu Manchu originated here. However, the reality was quite different, with a very familiar London street scene greeting those who were curious, albeit with clinics, shops and boarding houses run by the Chinese.

The Blitz and various slum clearance projects before and after the Second World War saw the end of London’s first Chinatown, and there is little physical trace left today.

In the 1940s and 50s many families moved to the West End to capitalise on the growing demand for Chinese food, laying the foundations for London’s present day Chinatown.

Yat Ming Loo’s upcoming book “Architecture and Urban Form in Kuala Lumpur: Race and Chinese Spaces in a Postcolonial City” will be published in April 2013.

The next “Last Tuesdays” event on 27 November, Colour Me Vertical, will explore colour, light and architecture. Admission is free.

Follow @RIBA on twitter for #LastTuesdays updates, or visit for more information.

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London’s Top Free Olympic Exhibitions Mon, 09 Jul 2012 09:30:42 +0000

The Olympic Games aren’t just about victory at the finish line – creativity and design have played a part in making the ultimate sporting event in the world happen. Make sure you celebrate the artists and engineers involved as well as the athletes by visiting one of these top Olympic exhibitions this summer. They’re all free.

Design Stories and After the Party at RIBA
The Royal Institute of British Architects is putting on two Olympic exhibitions to toast the architecture behind the Games. Design Stories: The Architecture Behind 2012 explores the ideas and complex engineering behind the brand new Olympic venues like the Aquatics Centre. It compiles drawings, images, videos and detailed models. The second exhibition, After the Party: The Legacy of Celebration, compares the UK’s Olympic buildings to efforts for previous Olympic Games and celebrations and asks what happens to monuments celebrating events after all the hoopla has passed. 
Design Stories: 25 Jun-21 Sep
After The Party: 25 Jun-5 Oct

Road to 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery
None of the glory on the track and court would be possible without all the work behind the scenes of the Olympic Games. This free series of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery features not only the athletes but people who have put the event together, such as apprentices from the Olympic Park and the team that led the bid for London to hold the Games. It’s the final part of  the BT Road to 2012 project which has commissioned leading photographers to document the build up to the event. Katherine Green’s images of sports communities in London’s East End sit alongside the display. 
19 Jul-23 Sep

The Olympic Journey at the Royal Opera House
For two weeks only, an impressive collection of Olympic artefacts will set up camp at the Royal Opera House for The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games. The exhibition traces the evolution of the Olympic Games from the ancient Greek games 3,000 years ago. The highlight has to be seeing every single summer Olympic medal since 1896 and every summer Olympic torch since 1936. 
28 Jul-12 Aug

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Posters at Tate Britain
The posters for the Olympic Games have always reflected the art – and the mood – of the city that hosts them. Artists like Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili are among the 12 to put their mark on the official posters for London 2012. Screen prints and lithographs of their creations will be among those on show at Tate Britain as part of the London 2012 Festival.
21 Jun-23 Sep

Olympics Through the Ages at Westfield Stratford City
Award-winning photography will showcase iconic sporting moments at this exhibition in the Getty Images Gallery. Taking place within walking distance from the Olympic Park, it looks at the Olympic Games through a camera lens – from the first modern event in Athens in 1896 through to Beijing in 2008. 
27 Jun-30 Sep

What will be the most iconic image from the London 2012 Olympic Games? Comment below and let us know.

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