Half term report

One year in, the president pauses to look at his progress

As I conclude the first year of my presidency I wanted to report on progress with my key ambitions of creating more opportunities for our members, facilitating a closer relationship between academia and practice, and extending public outreach.

Opportunities for architects
Establishment of the RIBA for Clients initiative last year was a good start. A priority of the institute’s ‘Leading Architecture’ strategy, it is designed to stimulate demand for architecture that delivers economic, social and environmental value. A client liaison group was set up to listen to clients’ views and needs and then identify the tools required to successfully promote architectural services in these initial growth sectors: contractor-led procurement, housing, and retrofit. Early feedback is published in this and July’s RIBAJ, with more to follow, culminating in a comprehensive report at the end of my term.

We also established an RIBA Competitions Task Group to review competitive selection processes, evaluate European models and develop ideas to improve the design and team selection competitions in the UK. New guidance for clients and competitors will be available in the New Year.

Our members
The Membership Review has been built on our largest ever consultation. As a result, a streamlined membership offer has been developed with the first phase, a new Fellowship category, set for launch early next year. I have endeavoured to engage with members in the regions, the Gulf, and Hong Kong, promoting the institute to Part 3 candidates in latter two. The UIA Congress and Assembly in Durban reaffirmed to me the institute’s international profile.

At the government-initiated triennial review of Arb, the RIBA made a strong representation for protection of title and a minimal regulatory authority. An announcement is expected in the autumn.

The Education Review Group is looking at the structure of architectural education in the UK and will report at the end of 2014.

This year saw the launch of the new website. With content that focuses on demonstrating the import of architecture through informative, sharable and thought provoking web articles, it demonstrates to the public the value of using a chartered architect. RIBA members will, I hope, benefit immeasurably from the soon to be re-launched ‘Find an ­Architect’.

Early in 2015, efforts to extend our public outreach will see a sister gallery opening at Mann Island in Liverpool

The new gallery at 66 Portland Place allows the RIBA’s special collection to be displayed for the first time as part of wider strategy for the promotion of architecture to the public. The gallery opened in February with ‘The Brits who Built the Modern World’ exhibition, held in partnership with the BBC. Almost 30,000 visitors passed through the doors, and one million viewers watched each of the three part television series. The next exhibition, Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith, opens in September. Early in 2015, this approach to extending our public outreach will see a sister gallery opening at Mann Island in Liverpool.

New premises were bought in 2014 in Portland Place and Newcastle to better support both the RIBA and RIBA Enterprises.

As I move towards the second year of my presidency there is still much to do but I am pleased with the steady progress the RIBA continues to make. As a practitioner I am used to delivery, and at the end of two years I want to ensure the RIBA has delivered too.