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90 Years of the built environment at the Building Centre

1 Nov 2021–7 Sep 2022

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.

In September 1932 the Building Centre officially opened its doors to the public in Bond Street, at the heart of London’s West End shopping district. Across four floors it displayed the latest building products.

We celebrate these 90 years by looking back at key moments in our own history but also look through nine decades of architectural style, delivery and purpose. We ask what were the catalysts for change? How did the wider socio-political environment influence the nature of construction, and what were the most important factors at play?

Come along and visit the exhibition for free or view the accompanying pdf below



This exhibition marks the start of a major initiative from the Built Environment Trust to mark the 90th anniversary of the Building Centre and to highlight the remarkable achievements of the built environment in this period.

We have invited leading figures in Britain - from architects, engineers, planners and developers to actors, architectural historians, photographers, broadcasters, writers and artists - to select what to them represents the best examples of our nation’s built environment.

This is not intended as a dry and dusty architectural critique, rather to explore through the contributors what significance their selection has for them. This is not just about buildings - the Built Environment is so much more than that. Our selectors were free to choose urban green spaces, sculpture parks, iconic structures, repurposed industrial buildings, public buildings, public houses, libraries, galleries, theatres, places of worship. The only criterion was that it must be something that resonated strongly with them.

Get involved

Over the coming months, both the selections and their selectors will appear on our website and through social media. We will also be inviting you to pick your own favourite - either from voting for one of their selections or by choosing one of your own - or both!



Keep exploring