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Fund-raising chief slams 'pitiful'campaign effort

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The architectural profession has come under heavy fire from the man charged with increasing donations to the British Architectural Libraries Trust (BALT).

In the week that the new RIBA Drawings Collection facilities open at the V&A, the profession's failure to cough up for most of the new amenities is sure to dampen the sense of achievement at Portland Place.

The figures are stark. If the handful of 'large donations' is left out of the equation, the rest of the architectural population has raised just £19,000 for BALT's fundraising campaign.

BALT chairman Michael Rose said these figures represented 'an abysmal effort' adding that 'the architecture profession should be embarrassed'.

Rose said that he had been delighted and impressed by 'very generous donations' from John Assael and John McAslan but was left 'astonished' by the remainder.

'There are 28,000 architects out there at whom we have aimed this general appeal and it is amazingly disappointing that less than 10 have responded in any significant way, ' he told the AJ.

'Obviously, I am not very happy about this.

I have looked after the fund-raising from the public and we have raised over a million pounds - you have to ask where the million is from the profession? It is pitiful. Overall the response from the profession has been appalling.

'I give two days a week of my time freely for this campaign because our architectural history has been locked away and we have now got a situation where it is being opened to the public.

'But I can honestly say that this has been so frustrating that I will never volunteer for anything like this again, ' he added.

However, RIBA president George Ferguson said he was disappointed that anyone was painting a gloomy picture in the same week that the V&A galleries open.

'I do not think that it is right to air this kind of thing in public as there are likely to be some other donations on the way. I would ask the rest of the profession to follow in the brilliant lead of John Assael.

'People ought to remember that the galleries at the V&A are a triumph and this week we ought to be celebrating them as a great success for the profession, not knocking it, ' Ferguson added.

l See the RIBA Drawings Collection on pages 6-7.

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