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

chinese and british, a show part of our london architecture exhibitions round up
'Chinese and British', The British Library
(Image credit: Jim Stephenson)

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. 


‘Homegrown: Building a Post-carbon Future’, Building Centre

view of material cultures' exhibition, Homegrown at the building centre

(Image credit: Henry Woide)

‘Homegrown: Building a Post-carbon Future’ offers a glimpse into the work of exciting, emerging architecture studio Material Cultures. Based in east London, the studio is headed by Summer Islam, Paloma Gormley and George Massoud, and its displays argue that ‘a new approach to building is needed to answer the social and environmental crises we are facing – one that respects geography, ecology,  people and place’. And they are, of course, right. Sustainable architecture is at the forefront of the architectural world's collective mind, and through film and full-scale mock-ups, this exhibition raises awareness of issues caused by construction and current practices around material use. At the same time, it offers ways to move forward. The show, created together with the Building Centre (a nods to its origins as a material studio), is accompanied by a rich programme of talks and tours. 

Open until 15 April 2023

‘Chinese and British’, The British Library

exhibition view of the Chinese and British show at the British Library

(Image credit: Jim Stephenson)

This free show at the British Library delves into the histories and legacy of Chinese people in Britain. The exhibition, rich with lesser-known stories that deserve a spotlight (and told in both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, as well as English text, ‘compositionally placed to create non-hierarchical relationships‘ as its creators stress), has been expertly designed by emerging architecture studio Pup Architects in collaboration with Studio Wan. There is ample audio and visual material, ranging from film to original documents that help tell the story of Chinese communities in Britain. This is supported by delicate, fun and engaging installations by the architects, complete with a model of a doll's house of a Chinese takeaway that brings to life this example of a business. ‘Within the community, there are diverse relationships to both “Chinese” and “British” identities and cultures; which can be nuanced, dynamic and sometimes conflicted,’ the press release states, and the exhibition certainly delivers, in this carefully put-together display curated by Dr Lucienne Loh at the University of Liverpool and Dr Alex Tickell at the Open University in collaboration with the British Library. 

Open until 1 April 2023

‘Long Life, Low Energy’, RIBA

displays at RIBA's Long Life, Low Energy exhibition

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Long Life, Low Energy: Designing for a circular economy’, the latest exhibition to open at RIBA's London headquarters on Portland Place takes a much-discussed issue – namely sustainable architecture – and dissects it in a disarmingly clear and simple way. No mean feat, considering how complicated and multi-layered designing eco-consciously can be. But this show has it all – case studies, numbered sections and a straightforward, accessible breakdown of strategies and steps an architect can take in order to bring a piece of building design closer to that coveted net-zero result. 

Open until 1 April 2023

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor 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) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).