The Room of Ideas is our shortlisted response to the RIBA’s competition for a new learning centre for users of all ages. It includes a study room, terrace and display area for the Grade II* listed home at Portland Place in central London.
The RIBA can be a daunting place for a child. The grand building, all of those important names on the wall, the knowledge, the institution. Our proposal aimed to introduce the personalities of the RIBA to children, to engage RIBA members and children in a learning process, to help personalise a community that the children can’t see.
Like a moodboard, the Room of Ideas is clad in versatile, soft sustainable cork panels to encourage continuous creativity. These panels wrap around the room, covering the shelves, doors and floor. It is a flexible, hands-on learning space created out of simple materials and cleverly crafted joinery.
A nod to the Egyptians’ hieroglyphics, Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Southbank Centre’s graffitied skateboard space and the very walls throughout 66 Portland Place, our Room of Ideas is covered in graphic engravings to echo cultural and historic spaces across the ages. The surfaces are also marked with the early and impactful architectural memories of RIBA members.
The mural-like application is a technique derived from the Greek verb graphein, meaning to scratch, carve or write. We are interested in exploring this action and modernising it for the 21st century.
This is a place made by the RIBA community to spark conversation, to engage and to inspire younger generations to architecture.
What is your earliest memory that inspired you to architecture?
Answers, drawings and quotes are curated and laser cut across the panels, creating a beautiful composition, a collage-like ornamentation, an inspiring backdrop for everything that happens in this place of learning.
More than just an engaging and omnipresent pin-up board, these cork panels are designed to inspire.
An inspiring room of graphein
A plan and internal elevations of the Room of Ideas. An example of what the graphein patterns could look like.
Learning in the sun, wind and rain
The graphein cork panel balustrade serves as a worktop for outdoor learning activities, eating and socialising. The learning terrace floor is covered in coloured resin-bound gravel to match the cork palette.