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Murray: 'RIBA president should tell architects to ignore Olympic marketing protocol'

London Festival of Architecture founder Peter Murray has urged RIBA president Angela Brady to take a tougher stance on the Olympic 2012’s controversial marketing restrictions

Murray was responding to a ‘delicate’ statement released this morning by the RIBA supremo about Olympic marketing in which she said it was ’vital that those who have been involved in designing and delivering our great new Olympics projects [were] able to get appropriate recognition for their contribution.’ (see full statement below).

Brady’s comments came just hours after shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell (see The Guardian) openly attacked the rules which prevent businesses working on the Games, but which are not official sponsors, from promoting their involvement in the Olympics or entering awards.

Jowell, who was instrumental in putting together the original bid in 2005 and remains on the Olympic board, said the rules constrained the ability of British architects to make the most of their achievement in building the venues that will host the Games.

Murray said: ‘Brady is treading a delicate political line but I wish in this instance she had been more outspoken. Time is very short and the situation is a mess. Ministers are saying privately that architects should ignore the protocol.

‘Some architects have been told that they shouldn’t worry because LOCOG will soon cease to exist. However the Minister of Sport Hugh Robertson has said in the House that all contracts will be transferred to the British Olympic Committee after the Games. Who knows what position they might take?

Murray, who has repeatedly spoken out about the ‘damaging’ rules, concluded: ‘If the Government is unwilling to do anything about this within a sensible time scale, while urging British business to use the Games to promote their work internationally, perhaps the President of the RIBA should tell architects to ignore the No Marketing Rights Protocol as an unreasonable Restraint of Trade.’

Wilkinson Eyre was forbidden to enter the RIBA Awards with its 2012 basketball arena because of the protocol.

RIBA President Angela Brady’s comments (12.07.2012):

‘It is vital that those who have been involved in designing and delivering our great new Olympics projects are able to get appropriate recognition for their contribution. This is something that I have been doing as PRIBA in my recent talks in China, Vietnam and Europe and at the recent AIA convention in Washington. Everyone seems genuinely wowed by our brilliant buildings and the legacy plan for after the Games are over.

The RIBA has recognised some of the most successful Olympic projects through the 2012 RIBA awards, including the Lee Valley White Water Centre by Faulkner Brown and the Olympic Stadium by Populous; in 2011, the Velodrome by Hopkins was on the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist and in 2010 the Primary Sub Station for 2012 Olympics by Nord. We hope to be able to judge more Olympic award entries in future.

The RIBA’s ‘Design Stories: The Architecture Behind 2012’ exhibition has been supported by LOCOG and is officially part of the London 2012 Festival.  The RIBA has greatly valued the support that LOCOG has given in approving and assisting with this exhibition.  It is correct that we have had to abide by certain restrictions placed by LOCOG on the way architectural practices who have built Olympic venues are referred to. But all the relevant practices are named and their work presented through models, images, films and text. 

There has been some acknowledgement, most recently last week by the Prime Minister, that companies involved in Olympic projects must be allowed to make the most of their success. David Cameron has committed to working with the British Olympic Association and the IOC to make sure that Olympic marketing rules don’t get in the way.

The RIBA has had a good relationship with the ODA and LOCOG over the last 5 years of preparation for the Games, and has played an ongoing advisory role.”

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