Annette Fisher will get her first taste of riba council when new president Marco Goldschmeid lays his hands on the presidential gavel in July. And, after years as simply a member of the institute, she aims to do her bit to destroy the 'glass ceilings' that she feels inhibit women and minority architects' progress in this country.
Fisher has been elected as a national councillor in the new line-up. She was nominated by the Women in Architecture Group and won support based on her election statement detailing her work in practice for 17 years, and her mission towards equal opportunities. 'I didn't think I'd get elected,' she says. 'But I will speak my mind.' Presented with the NatWest Award for African professional of the year in 1997, she has worked in Africa and spent three years in the us , firstly with Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates and later as a freelance. She left in 1993 and was founding partner of The Littler Fisher Partnership a year later. Two years ago she formed Fisher Associates, with offices in Chelsea and projects growing in scale. Her outfit was on the shortlist for the Bermondsey Square bid, won a competition for a £3 million sports pavilion in Hertfordshire, and received acclaim for an office refurbishment at 35 Albemarle Street in the West End. And now RIBA council.
She believes that the more people like herself that progress in 'mainstream architecture' the greater the chances are that the glass ceiling can be smashed. She is firmly not a feminist, ('I like having doors opened for me') but believes the more common it is that a 'variety' of architects from different backgrounds produce good architecture, the more accepting people will become. 'Being an architect in the uk today is not only synonymous with being male,' she says in her election statement. 'Increasingly the developer client is in fact female and foreign.'