University of Westminster flag

About this event

Brave Old World: Modernist public space design in London and São Paulo looks at public space design between c.1955 and c.1975, during a crucial period for the development of two world cities, London and São Paulo. Though located in very different cultures, the designers of the eight public spaces on show shared a common frame of reference, whatever their view of it: architectural Modernism.

As a result, the four examples in London and the four in São Paulo are works of equal ambition and equal invention, and representative of a consensus on the value of the public realm and the importance of the state in providing and protecting it.

The exhibition focuses on the ideas-political, urban, aesthetic-that drove these public space designs, and the importance of design in delivering successful-and unsuccessful-public spaces.

In London:

  • Economist Plaza
  • British Library forecourt
  • Southbank Arts Centre
  • Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre

In São Paulo

  • Centro Empresarial Itaú Conceição
  • Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP)
  • Centro Cultural de São Paulo (CCSP)
  • Vale do Anhangabaú


This exhibition is part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project. It is organised by Professor Susannah Hagan of the Department of Architecture, University of Westminster, and hosted by RIBA Public Programmes.

The exhibition also forms part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017.

Full details

The event will be held at:

Royal Institute of British Architects, Practice Gallery, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

Entry is free.

The exhibition runs from June 7–July 2 2017.

Open hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–5pm.

Tuesdays 10am–8pm.


RIBA Public Programmes

(020) 7307 3699

[email protected]

Related events

Public Spaces and the Role of the Designer – a symposium for practitioners