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ARB splashes out on a bright new public image

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The Architects Registration Board is to move closer to the riba - not by moving but by changing its address. An imaginative refurbishment scheme by Alex de Rijke of de Rijke Marsh Morgan moves the entrance of the building round the corner from the little frequented Hallam Street on to Weymouth Street (below).

The refurbishment, which will involve decanting the organisation to other premises for a few weeks in the Spring, will cost £280,000. arb vice-chairman Owen Luder, speaking at the launch of de Rijke's design, said: 'We are all keeping our fingers crossed - we know that architects' visions don't always work out.'

It is not just over the design that the organisation has its fingers crossed. The arb has unveiled its new 'dot-matrix' logo, designed by Cartlidge Levene. It will not disclose the fee, but was at pains to emphasise that the design, widely used in a less than prominent white out of yellow, requires only two-colour printing and hence is economic to use.

Cartlidge Levene also designed the arb's annual report, which reveals that the number of registered architects has fallen by 1006 to 29,637, the largest fall in the past 12 years, taking the total number below 30,000 for the first time during the period. Resignations, at 765, are high but not a record, as are removals at 586. But new admissions, at 347, are by far the lowest for the period.

The figures also show that female architects now comprise 11 per cent of the register. In discipline terms, in the year to the end of March, five people were successfully prosecuted for abuse of title. One was given a conditional discharge and the others were fined a total of £5750. This is out of a total of 258 complaints. On 31 March, 10 matters were with investigators and a further eight with the board's solicitors.

At the launch of the report and new designs, arb's first attempt to open itself up to the press, chairwoman Barbara Kelly went out of her way to pay tribute to departed registrar Andrew Finch. But she said that whereas it was felt to be essential for the first registrar to have a legal background, this would not necessarily be the case for his successor, due to be appointed in the new year.

It seems that the board members still have something to learn about communication, however. Of the 12 members, only non-architect Mike Dewey was present.

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