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RIAS looks to recruit exiled Scots

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) is set to change its name in a bid to claim the membership of hundreds of Scottish architects who are working in the rest of the UK.

A change in its rules could mean that exiled Scottish architects might abandon their RIBA membership in exchange for RIAS membership.

If just 100 do this then the RIBA would lose £230,000 in annual subscription income.

Current rules ban Scottish trained architects who work south of the border from taking RIAS membership. But if its name changes from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland to the Royal Incorporation of Architects of Scotland, as is planned, then this will end.

'If I moved south of the border I would have to resign from RIAS and that doesn't make sense, ' said RIAS president, Ian Dickson. 'We have already had a number of people phoning up and saying we would join if we could.'

The rule change could mean that all architects in the UKwho were born in Scotland, or who studied architecture there, would be eligible for membership of RIAS, regardless of where they work in the UK.

Some 122 Scottish architects outside Scotland already pay a reduced £40 annual subscription to be an associated member. If the change goes through then these could all upgrade to a full £134 annual membership.

But RIAS officials denied that the proposed name change is part of its attempt to secure greater resources to reflect the increasing political independence of the country.

'The RIBA is concerned that we are treading on their toes with this, but architects could still be a member of both organisations, 'Dickson said.

RIBA vice-president for membership Joyce Deans said: 'The suggestion has been discussed amicably with the RIBA, and the RIAS does not want to go head to head on securing memberships from overseas architects.'

Meanwhile a RIBA working group is considering a shake-up in the allocation of resources to its Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish regions following devolution. The RIAS manages affairs on behalf of the RIBA'S Scottish region and Dickson warns that its increased workload has not been matched by increased funding.

'The Scottish Assembly is creating a huge amount of work with four ministers to report to - architecture, construction, housing, transport and planning, 'Dickson said.

'We believe we have a case to get more money for the RIBA.'

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