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What's the big idea? RIAS defends exhibition

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) has dismissed claims that it acted inappropriately by headlining the practice of its own president at its annual Edinburgh Festival exhibition.

The decision to highlight work by gm+ad, the office of current RIAS president Gordon Murray, has raised eyebrows among Scottish architects.

However, the RIAS has defended its flagship show, called 'Big Ideas in a Small Place'.

Aspokesman said: 'The RIAS' task is to promote a knowledge and understanding of Scotland's architecture. This year we have chosen to do so by exhibiting the work of a busy and dynamic Glasgow practice, whose work is sometimes challenging, often award-winning, and very much in the public eye.

'The RIAS has worked with gm+ad on other exhibitions, notably 'Flesh and Stone' at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow in 1999, and therefore has confidence in their ability to deliver.' But a leading Edinburgh architect - who chose to remain anonymous - believes the show amounts to little more than 'free advertising'.

'I always thought the RIAS had a daft policy about oneman shows - you either had to be dead or foreign to feature, ' he said. 'So I'm all in favour of the RIAS putting on a display about Scottish architects, especially at the international festival, which is a big shop window.

'But this year I was gobsmacked. The exhibition is all about Gordon Murray and Alan Dunlop's practice, gm+ad. Previous shows have never been used to promote architects' practices.

And they have never been about the president promoting himself.

I am absolutely amazed by the cheek of it, ' the architect added.

The exhibition runs until 3 September at the RIAS Gallery at 15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh.

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