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Finch fall-out: ARB must be 'the architect's friend'

The arb must make a fresh start on working more collaboratively with the riba on discipline and education and begin to stand up for architects by lobbying the public to use them more.

Those were the key views this week of former riba president David Rock following the fall-out from the surprise announcement of the removalof arb head Andrew Finch, which some are seeing as heralding a new beginning for the organisation.

Rock believes that, as he has suggested to arb chair Barbara Kelly, the new-look arb must rid itself of its old tag as a police-like body of 'law enforcers' which is intent on 'attacking architects' and must become instead what he called the architect's 'guardians'.

'They'd change their image dramatically if they started advocating the merit of using architects' he said. 'And that would come naturally from the Act'. Rock believes that it should also use the Institute's '50-100 years of experience' on discipline and education, and come to view Portland Place as a partner rather than a consultee.

arb should also, he believes, end its habit - under Finch's reign - of acting as a semi-governmental body which was often at pains to appear distant and remote from influences such as the institute.

riba's education vice-president Paul Hyett said: 'Most of the difficulties we suffered were due to Andrew Finch's inability to engage in any constructive dialogue with us. He simply couldn't understand the specific or broader issues affecting education.'

And Frank Duffy added: 'My view is that the arb should be defending the public and that the profession should be defending architecture. The tension between them is extremely beneficial - it's as simple and as crude as that.'

The board simply needed 'patience, time and intelligence', he said.

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