Established in 1922, The Club’s original purpose was “to enlarge the public appreciation of good architecture and the allied arts, and especially the best work of today”. The club had a membership limited to a total of three hundred, of which less than half might be architects.
In 2000, to celebrate the new Millennium and in response for the high demand for membership the total of members was increased to four hundred practicing and non-practicing architects, and individuals with a passion for architecture – clients, curators, urbanists, academics, artists, engineers, writers, campaigners and champions of good design.
Today, its aim is to promote architecture in its broadest sense through events designed to educate and inform.
As a club without premises, it meets 4-5 times a year in various locations– holding debates, dinners, talks, and visits to buildings, organising trips aboard, and holding an Annual Winter Party.
It has also held several exhibitions including “the best architecture of the last twenty years” in 1923, followed in 1925 by the second exhibition (held at the RIBA Galleries in Conduit Street, opened by G.K. Chesterton), and more recently the “50 years of London Architecture” supported by Christina Smith – which consequently toured successfully in Europe.
Topics of debate over the years have been diverse, ranging from “The architecture of 1851 is preferable to that of 1951” to “No building should now last more that one life time”; or “The influence of Le Corbusier was a disaster (1973)” to “Patronage in a cold climate” (1987). Contemporary topics have included debates entitled “Architecture in Britain today has lost its social purpose” and “Globalisation and Architecture”.
Speakers at dinners have ranged from Mies van der Rohe to the Prince of Wales, Richard Rogers to Leon Krier, from Denys Lasdun to Philip Johnson. Summer events have included visits to Oxford, Cambridge, Clandon Park, Buckingham Palace, the Lloyd’s Building, The Shard, Broadgate and London Docklands.