Please Note: You do not need to book spaces to visit the Building Centre it is Open to the public daily except Sundays although if you have large groups we do suggest contacting us on +44 (0)20 7692 4000 or email: office@buildingcentre.co.uk to arrange your visit.

Mon - Fri: 9.00am - 6.00pm
Sat: 10.00am - 5.00pm

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Founded in 1931, the Building Centre started life as a building materials bureau at the Architectural Association with the aim of demonstrating to students and architects the best contemporary products and materials available.

One of its key innovations was connecting the world of manufacturing with the study and practice of architecture. In a unique offering, the Centre urged visitors to ‘discover here how to create useful and beautiful structures’ with product displayed in sections ranging from floor coverings to glass.

Architectural Association School Secretary Frank Yerbury became the first Managing Director, a position he held for 30 years, and he was both a passionate advocate for new architecture as well as an accomplished photographer who travelled extensively capturing the best of contemporary practice. His photographs of Le Corbusier’s early work were amongst the first published in Britain. The Centre was ambitious in its intention that ‘the architect and others interested in building’ be kept informed of ‘modern developments in building materials’.

The Building Centre opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 7 September 1932 with ideas, innovation and education central to its ambitions. 

The centre came into being ‘arising out of a great need – one of the most pressing of the building industry – for a ready and accessible means whereby the architect and others interested in building may keep themselves abreast of modern developments and, conversely, the manufacturers may feel certain that their products and their developments are constantly receiving the attention of the architectural professions, the building industry and the public.’

Maurice Webb, Chairman of the Board, 1931

Under the direction of Frank Yerbury the Building Centre received the support of an impressive array of architects including Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and Sir Edwin Lutyens who sat on the centre’s first advisory board.  The first Building Centre poster of 1932 encouraged a visit to ‘London’s most fascinating display’ and a vast number of visitors followed.

Building Centre
26 Store Street
London
WC1E 7BT

Please Note: You do not need to book spaces to visit the Building Centre it is Open to the public daily except Sundays although if you have large groups we do suggest contacting us on +44 (0)20 7692 4000 or email: office@buildingcentre.co.uk to arrange your visit.

Mon - Fri: 9.00am - 6.00pm
Sat: 10.00am - 5.00pm

Explore the Built Environment through the Building Centre and especially one of our famous installations.

NLA’s giant interactive model of central London brings the story of London’s historical and physical development to life through a sophisticated projection system integrated with films.

At 12.5 metres-long, the model covers more than 85 square kilometres of London, 19 Boroughs and approximately 170,000 buildings, including 34km of the Thames with its corresponding 21 bridges. It extends from King’s Cross in the north to Peckham in the south and the Royal Docks in the east to Old Oak Common in the west.

Touchscreens allow buildings and major infrastructure projects to be brought to life across the surface of the model, showing the key areas of change and revealing the sheer scale of proposed development in the capital. Visitors can also call up detailed information and key facts on London’s newest and projects buildings. Integrated films document the history and development of the capital, the impact of the London Plan, major infrastructure plans, the rise of tall buildings and the ongoing influence of the Great Estates.

Sam Sheppard

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