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The road to a stronger profession

Muyiwa Oki

Muyiwa Oki has published his Biennial Plan, looking at ways to give the next generation a reason to care about architecture

We have to communicate the substantial value architects bring to society by creating high-quality, safe, and sustainable places such as Studio Weave’s RIBA National Award-winning Lea Bridge Library.
We have to communicate the substantial value architects bring to society by creating high-quality, safe, and sustainable places such as Studio Weave’s RIBA National Award-winning Lea Bridge Library. Credit: Jim Stephenson

In the architecture world, our challenges are as diverse as the buildings and places we design. From navigating complex regulations to addressing pressing societal issues as different as the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the climate crisis, architects are tasked with a daunting array of responsibilities. Yet among these challenges lies an opportunity to expand our impact and redefine the role of architecture in society. 

Architects continue to face these challenges with characteristic grace, optimism, and creativity. And while education and practice continue to evolve to meet the demands of modernity, there is still more to be done to foster the innovative spirit at the core of our profession. Central to this effort is ensuring fair compensation for architects, particularly those at the beginning of their careers, who may be overworked and underpaid despite their immense talent and skills.

As the RIBA president, I want to assure all our members that they are not alone. Our ambitions extend beyond individual success. Rather than competing for a share of a shrinking pie, I believe it is imperative that architects come together to expand opportunities for all. This means working together to articulate and communicate the substantial value that architects bring to society by creating high-quality, safe and sustainable places.

This month, I am proud to unveil my Biennial Plan, which outlines five key focus areas to position the RIBA as a catalyst for change – the infrastructure that gives the next generation a reason to care about architecture. In the context of this discussion, two of these areas feel particularly relevant.

The first is supporting practices to be a force for good. This is about ensuring architects are happy and healthy in their jobs. Our people are our greatest asset. I want to ensure that every one of us is valued for our contribution and that we are creating the conditions for people to be productive, innovative, and collaborative. Critical to this will be a survey of working conditions in practices to establish a baseline from which action can be taken. 

The second is about reimagining the role of future architects. I want to ensure that the profession is ready to face the future – that we can embrace a broader definition of architecture, grasp new opportunities, utilise new technologies and scale up our activity in the areas that matter most, including climate action and digital innovation. This will include the RIBA’s Horizons 2034 project, an authoritative analysis of issues affecting the profession over the next 10 years. These issues include challenges from the environmental to the technological.

Immediate action is crucial to create a future where architecture contributes even more significantly to our communities. Success, in my view, involves an engaged, diverse cohort of confident RIBA members, a profession where everyone feels a sense of belonging, and a public perception of architects as key and integral problem-solving contributors. The RIBA must project a confident, assertive, engaging outlook for the future of our profession. Let’s get to work.

You can download my Biennial Plan from



Regional Awards shortlists revealed

Were you shortlisted for a RIBA Regional Award? Following meetings with local jurors up and down the country, we have revealed the buildings that have been shortlisted for our Regional Awards. This year’s cohort of projects included a converted fire station, London’s oldest brewery, a Jacobean castle, the renovation of a covered reservoir into a family home, a 17th century grain warehouse and a cotton mill. Keep an eye out for winner announcements through May and in the June issue of the RIBA Journal.