CALL FOR PAPERS: Architects Seeking Refuge on the Brink of WWII Hybrid Conference

Entry deadline: 15 April 2024


In January 1939 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) set up a special committee to deal with the increasing number of requests of assistance from architects from Nazi-occupied Central Europe. Between 1938 and 1941 more than 200 individuals (mostly architects) became known to the RIBA and its Refugee Committee, either directly or via other refugee organisations. Some of these architects had already achieved recognition, while others had barely managed to embark on their careers. Some succeeded in emigrating and rebuilding their lives abroad. Of those who stayed behind, many did not survive the war. The Refugee Committee Papers, which include the related correspondence and record the activities of the committee, are held in the RIBA Archives, and have inspired ongoing research on the topic, of which this conference would be the first major output.

The conference, planned to take place at the RIBA during Refugee Week on 21-22 June 2024, aims to give back a voice to those often-forgotten architects and to celebrate their lives and their work. It also aims to provide a better understanding of the phenomenon of migration in the late 1930s of one particular profession from Continental Europe to the United Kingdom and beyond. RIBA are looking for 30-minute papers that can shed light on the work and fate of architects who tried to emigrate from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Hungary due to religious, ethnic or political persecution. Please contact before sending your abstract so that we can confirm the architect(s) you are researching are among those who came to the attention of the RIBA. Papers on the more general topic of the migration of architects from Central Europe to a specific country such as the United States, Canada, Australia etc. are welcome.

Interested participants are invited to submit a 300-word abstract, a brief biography and a presentation title by no later than 15 April 2024. Participants are encouraged to consider presenting rather than reading their papers. Please mail your submission to