Stephen Hodder signs out with a sense of achievement
As RIBA president I have sought to elevate and support members and staff to deliver the projects within our five year plan ‘Leading Architecture’ that will have maximum impact. My last RIBA Journal column provides the opportunity to reflect on four themes that I have made a particular focus: outreach, education, membership and clients.
The last two years has seen a dramatic change in the Institute’s outreach work. The re-invigorated architecture.com has transformed our online presence and continued investment will see marked improvements for members over the coming year. The launch of the Carmody Groarke-designed Architecture Gallery at 66 Portland Place was marked by a lively discussion between Terry Farrell, Norman Foster, Nick Grimshaw, Michael and Patti Hopkins and Richard Rogers. More recently I have been quite overwhelmed by the inventive Brutalist Playground installation, which is introducing architecture to a new generation. A new parallel gallery at Mann Island in Liverpool next year will see the value of architecture promoted to an even wider audience.
In March this year, following considered work by the Education Review Group, Council approved the re-shaping of architectural education to address student debt, inclusivity, and the essential relationship between practice and academia.
Our engagement with decision-makers in government grows and focussed campaigns, including our General Election ‘white paper’, Build a Better Britain, continue to have influence
Our wholesale review of member categories and benefits has been concluded, and I had hoped to announce the re-introduction of the fellowship category before the end of my term of office. For technical reasons this has not been possible but I hope that, together with revisions to the chartered practice offer, it will be introduced next year. The acquisition of 76 Portland Place, imaginatively reconfigured by Theis and Kahn, and the Old Post Office in Newcastle, are legacies that will benefit future members. Our engagement with decision-makers in government grows and focussed campaigns on housing standards, demographic change, and healthy cities as well as our General Election ‘white paper’, Build a Better Britain, continue to have influence. Protection of title was secured in the DCLG’s triennial review of Arb. Further afield, support for our international membership and fellow institutes has seen memorandums of understanding signed with Brazil, Oman, China and Canada, and the soft launch of the Indian Chapter, with Beijing and Shanghai to follow.
Over the last two years the RIBA for Clients initiative has engaged with some 500 clients to provide members with researched insights into changing needs so that we can shape our services in support of better client outcomes. I hope the evidence-based insights of this project captured in the new publication ‘Client and Architect: developing the essential relationship’, published in the UK with the RIBA Journal and available at architecure.com, will help members to target work more effectively, and improve the value we offer clients. The competitions review instigated by Council culminates this month with the publication of guidance for clients. Work continues with the Find an Architect search tool on the website, which has received almost a million views this year alone.
We have faced challenges together, and I know that some of the projects I have mentioned remain incomplete. But we have much to be proud of and I want to thank all of you – members and staff – for your support over an extraordinary two years. It has been an honour to serve as RIBA president and I look forward to supporting my successor Jane Duncan and the Institute in my year as Immediate PPRIBA and beyond.
Welcome to council
As you will know, the results of the elections to RIBA council have been announced. I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to stand and to congratulate the members joining council on 1 September:
Albena Atanassova (associate)
Jonathan Ball (national)
Andrew Bourne (Wessex)
Ruth Donnelly (Yorkshire)
Jennifer Forakis (South)
Mark Hodson (Yorkshire)
Lillian Ingleby (student member)
Mark Jermy (East Midlands)
Alan Jones (national)
Ewen Miller (North West)
Elsie Owusu (national)
Richard Parnaby (RSAW)
Mark Percival (national)
Lisa Raynes (national)
Helen Taylor (national)
Nicky Watson (North East)
Richard Wooldridge (North West)