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RIAS plans competition for new expanded HQ building

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland is considering moving out of its Georgian town house headquarters and commissioning a new larger building.

The RIAS Council has set up a working group to consider the options, which involve establishing an architecture centre to rival the Lighthouse in Glasgow. RIAS communications director John Pelan said that its current home in a six-storey terraced house on Rutland Square lacks both public spaces and sufficient office accommodation foritsstaffof25.

'Our ideal would be to have a purpose-built, architectdesigned building which would extend the principle of the Lighthouse to the other regions, 'Pelan said.'Personally, I'd like to see a leading Scottish architect chosen and the location could be close to the new parliament building from where we could function better with the politicians.' A lecture theatre, larger exhibition space, a cafe and offices are all on the wish-list for the new building.

'Our greatest challenge is to educate our clients and potential clients to a level of ambition where they demand the best, ' said council member Richard Murphy. 'What better way than a stimulating centre for exhibitions, talks, books and chat?'

The RIAS house architect, Gray Marshall & Associates, with Richard Murphy and fellow council members Alan Dunlop and Gordon Murray, is examining possibilities. But the project could be hit by disagreement over the location of the new building. Pelan claimed there is 'widespread agreement' that the RIAS should remain in Edinburgh, while he acknowledged the need to improve its reach into the regions. But Glasgow-based architect Alan Dunlop said that the RIAS should consider moving away from the capital and said that he and his partner, Gordon Murray, are campaigning for the Scottish regions on the issue of the future headquarters. 'I doubt if some Edinburgh architects would go to meetings if they were more than 15 minutes away from their offices, ' Dunlop said.

Finance may be available from Lottery sources and the current building would be sold to help meet the cost of the project.Rutland Square is worth between £300,000 and £400,000.

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