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A gift to the future

Stephen Hodder

Supporting the RIBA with a legacy allows the Institute to take advantage of opportunities that would otherwise be missed

As I approach my final few months as RIBA President, I am beginning to reflect on two years of progress, achievement and change. The Institute has delivered some major projects during my term of office, and there is more to come with publication
of our client-facing research ‘Client and Architect: an essential relationship’ in mid-September.

I have been heartened by the way members and supporters continue to shape the future of our Institute. We are very fortunate to have a proud history and culture of generous support, which continues to this day. The British Architectural Library, for example, has been shaped by those who have donated to it; most items in our extraordinary collections have been given, rather than bought. 

I was delighted to be involved with a recent gift to the British Architectural Library from the architect Peter Denney – approximately 300 drawings of Arne Jacobsen projects in Britain, including beautiful renders of his unbuilt hotel for Newcastle.  Until now we have not had any Jacobsen drawings in our collection, so this is a very special and exciting addition.

The RIBA doesn’t just benefit from donations of items to the Library. As a charity, we rely on monetary donations too. Members continue to make a significant contribution to the running of the Institute through their subscriptions. However, this income alone could never be expected to fund the care and on-going development of the Library, to meet the ever-growing demand for grants for those embarking on a career in architecture, or to cover the vital research and development which is at the intellectual heart of the RIBA.

A legacy is the most eloquent expression of real confidence in the power of the built environment and a testament of faith in the future

At a time of reflection, it therefore seems somehow apt to raise the subject of legacy giving. As architects, I know we are always mindful of the architectural legacy we leave.  Supporting the RIBA with a legacy is one way we can help shape the future of architecture and the next generation of architects. 

For example, legacy gifts to the RIBA have supported many talented students of architecture to achieve their ambitions and help ensure financial circumstances never become a barrier to success. We were extremely fortunate to receive a generous financial legacy from Barry Lennox, in memory of his wife, Jayne Lennox, which has enabled us to set up a series of scholarships to support UK architecture students. Without the generosity of donors like Barry Lennox, we would not be able to help so many students through their architectural education. Barry worked for the Southern region of the RIBA for many years. He was instrumental in helping local architects and encouraged many to engage in the Institute’s affairs.

Legacies can be left to any area of our work but those left to use at our discretion are particularly helpful as the RIBA can take advantage of opportunities that it otherwise would be unable to consider. 

The gift of a legacy, regardless of size, is of enormous value to our work. And in addition to its financial impact, it is the most eloquent expression of a real confidence in the power of the built environment and a testament of faith in the future.

Even if you are not in a position to support the Institute now, I do hope you will consider ways in which you may be able to support it in the future. 

Go to for more information on legacy giving.



The Mackintosh Architecture exhibition is open at the RIBA until May 23. It’s free and is a great opportunity to see the original drawings before they return to Scotland. The Architecture Gallery can now be visited on Sundays too.


Must see: If you’re at the RIBA, then don’t miss an exhibition in the Practice Space by Karakusevic Carson Architects which is on until May 17. They explore the evolving world of public housing.