London architecture exhibitions 2023: a guide to the best shows this month

Exciting, beautiful and thought-provoking London architecture exhibitions; here's our pick of the finest in town, to visit and enjoy this month

How to Build a Low-Carbon Home, one of this month's london architecture exhibitions
How to Build a Low-Carbon Home at the Design Museum
(Image credit: Felix Speller for the Design Museum)

Lost in the capital’s rich offering of London architecture exhibitions? Worry not; we have checked out the cream of the crop and created a guide for the finest architecture shows to visit this month. There is something for everyone, with a wide-ranging set of approaches and topics on display, to cover some of the most critical issues of our times. Here is what occupies the mind of the architecture world right now; and how architects talk about it. 


Building Contemporary China

Teahouse in Tangshan Quarry Park, Nanjing by Wang Jianguo

Teahouse in Tangshan Quarry Park, Nanjing by Wang Jianguo

(Image credit: Xu Haohao)

Set at the RIBA headquarters in London, a new exhibition has been launched to celebrate contemporary Chinese architecture and foster networking among representatives of leading practices from China.  Models, artwork, photographs, and drawings are employed to tell stories from 11 exhibited studios from the Asian country. 'Landscapes range from open plains to steep valleys and sizeable cities to remote villages, the 33 projects shown here tackle challenging questions including the climate crisis, urban regeneration, rural revival, and rapid natural disaster rebuild responses,' the RIBA writes of the show. 

Until November 2023

Village Stories

village stories exhibition

(Image credit: Jestico + Whiles)

Architecture studio Jestico + Whiles has launched an exhibition, 'Village Stories', celebrating the firm's work in the community sphere with their masterplan project at Greenwich Millennium Village. The show, which is on display at the practice's Clerkenwell headquarters, features audio visual pieces including work by audio producer and photographer Flo Lines. The exhibition aims to span architecture and overall design intentions and strategies as well as personal stories that bring to life this riverside London community. Jude Harris, Director at Jestico + Whiles said: 'For us residential architecture will always be about the people who live within the homes that we design and forming new communities. People are the beating heart of any development while the buildings act only as a backdrop. It has been fantastic to hear directly from residents who have lived within the Greenwich Millennium Village, particularly because they were so positive about the sense of community the development has helped to foster. At a time when there is a lot of negativity about city living, it is encouraging to hear first-hand about the true community spirit and sense of place that has been created from this former industrial wasteland over the past 25 years.'

Until November 2023

Wide-Angle View

RIBA_Wide-Angle View

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

The new exhibition, Wide-Angle View, which opened at the RIBA this autumn, zooms in on 60s magazine series Manplan. The publication, which ran 1969-1970, analyzed the condition of architecture and the urban realm in Britain at the time - and many of its themes are still relevant today. Through harsh critique and beautiful, original art and design, the magazine challenged the profession at its time. Valeria Carullo, exhibition lead curator and RIBA Photographs Curator said: 'This exhibition, with the raw power of its photographs, brings us back to a time of challenges, disparities, disillusionment, but also a time of questioning, protesting, campaigning – in many ways, much like our here and now. It is a timely reminder of the importance of citizens’ participation in the decisions that affect their communities and the role architects can play in creating a fairer society.'

Until 24 February 2024

Small Spaces in the City: Rethinking inside the Box

small spaces in the city exhibition at roca gallery

(Image credit: Bortherton Lock)

Small Spaces in the City: Rethinking inside the Box brings the focus back to compact sites and dense urban conditions, celebrating small spaces. This autumn Clare Farrow Studio celebrates a collection of such case studies to Roca London Gallery - tiny homes across the world can be joyful and appropriate, this show's contributors highlight through a selection of models, illustrations and film. Associate Professor at The Bartlett School of Architecture, Richard Beckett, who occupied a small booth inside the exhibit for three days as part of an experiment on indoor forests, said: 'Exposure to microbes associated with natural environments plays a fundamental role in shaping immunoregulatory health.  We’re trying to develop biologically active materials for buildings, using a novel soil material rich in microbial communities that can ‘rewild’ the indoor environment – bringing microbial diversity associated with nature.'

Until 27 January 2024

How to Build a Low-Carbon Home

How to Build a Low-Carbon Home close up

(Image credit: Felix Speller for the Design Museum)

A new, free display at the Design Museum tackles sustainable architecture and how this approach can translate to the humble, everyday typology of the home. Zooming into the work of three architecture studios pioneering environmentally friendly attitudes and methods to building, the show spans displays by Waugh Thistleton Architects, Material Cultures and Groupwork. Justin McGuirk, director of Future Observatory at the Design Museum, said: 'If the UK were to build the quantity of housing expected by government it would quickly use up the national carbon budget, and so clearly any new housebuilding needs to use low-carbon materials. This display explores the possibilities of natural materials in a way that engages not just professionals but the general public, because popular perception can play a key role in shifting industry standards. The result is a fun and sometimes surprising look at the homes of the future.'

Until March 2024

Serpentine Pavilion 2023 by Lina Ghotmeh

Serpentine Pavilion 2023 designed by Lina Ghotmeh

(Image credit: Photo: Iwan Baan, Courtesy: Serpentine)

As the Serpentine Pavilion 2023 completes and prepares to open its doors to the public later this week, there's hope that this spring's few, timid days of sunshine in London will make for a slow-burn, warmer summer. And once temperatures rise - and even if not - the latest iteration of the Serpentine Galleries' Kensington Garden annual summer special will be there to provide not only shelter (from the hot sun - or drizzle), but also a place to sit, socialise, relax and appreciate public architecture. And this is exactly what the French-Lebanese architect behind it, Paris-based Lina Ghotmeh, was hoping for, when she first conceived of her design. Titled 'À table,' the Serpentine Pavilion this year is envisioned as an open and democratic invitation for everyone to come together and enjoy nature, architecture, serenity, and each other's company. 

Until 29 October 2023

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).