Refugee architects of the inter-war period – can you contribute?
Valeria Carullo, Curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects, has recently started a research project based on the activities of the RIBA Refugee Committee, set up in 1939 in response to the sharp rise in requests for admission to the country from Central European architects. The RIBA Collections hold a significant number of photographs and drawings sent by some of the applicants to strengthen their case – material remarkable not only for its poignant association with a difficult period of European history but also for the access it grants us to the work of lesser known continental architects of the inter-war period. The first phase of this research focussed on the committee’s activities, with the aim of highlighting the cultural attitudes of the British architectural establishment at the outbreak of the Second World War. The second phase consisted in the creation of a comprehensive list of all the architects that were brought to the attention of the committee, and any personal details to be found in the Committee papers or through research in the RIBA Library. The research will then progress further by utilizing the resources of other institutions, both in Britain and abroad; however, a great contribution could also come from individuals who have direct or indirect knowledge of architects who succeeded (or tried) to emigrate to Britain as a result of the rise of Nazism and Fascism in the inter-war period.
If you have any information that you think might be useful, or would like to hear more about the research, please contact:
Curator, The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection
RIBA British Architectural Library
Email: Valeria Carullo