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Presidential candidate demands 'cabinet' in RIBA shake-up

RIBA presidential candidate Richards has said he wants to bring in a cabinet structure to resolve the institute’s ‘ineffective’ and ‘inward-looking’ administration

Richards was responding to recent comments made by current RIBA president Stephen Hodder who admitted he had been unable to implement his ‘ambitious programme’ of reform because of serious problems with its governance.

As well as offering his support to Hodder, the ORMS founder called for changes to the institute’s existing set up in a bid to ‘put architects first’.

He said: ‘The RIBA is behaving dysfunctionally and is undermining architects and our ability to create quality architecture. Hodder has the right ideas, my support and I hope that of many others - he is a good president and is being hampered by the RIBA continuing to look inwards at itself when it desperately needs to face outwards.

‘I am right behind the idea of cabinet governance.’

Richards, who is backed by a raft of big hitters including Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw, John Assael, and Piers Gough, is up against existing RIBA equality and diversity champion Jane Duncan in the race to replace Hodder.

Last week the institute agreed to set up an emergency task group last week, headed by ‘an experienced lawyer’, to sort out problems with the way the organisation is run which date back to 2010 when the RIBA was restructured (AJ 25.06.14).

Speaking about the governance issues, RIBA councillor Robert Franklin said: ‘This [situation] has been rumbling for some time and it’s good to see that at last we have a structure for a dispassionate and expert review of rules and regulations.

‘[We] need an operational structure that responds to initiatives and goals rather than stifles them at birth. Otherwise plans and ambitions will continue running into the sand.’

He added: ‘The intention [of the review] is to return democracy to the institute, clearly define the limits to executive powers and remove the handicaps to action.

‘It has nothing to do with individual egos or ambition and rather than be rushed through by next council, the review should take as long as it takes to fully involve members and the media until we have an agreed draft constitution that can be tested.’

The governance review is expected to report back in September.

Who’s standing for RIBA election

Presidential candidates Oliver Richards and Jane Duncan

Candidates for six ‘national’ seats John Assael, Andy von Bradsky, Darren Bray, Elspeth Clements, Ben Derbyshire, Daniel Leon, Walter Menteth, George Oldham, Nigel Ostime, Richard Parnaby, Flora Samuel, Anthony Skipper and Sam Webb 

Candidates for RIBA Wales Region (RSAW) regional seat Jonathan Jones and Robert Firth 

Candidates for one student member seat Daniel Orford and Marie Braithwaite

Video interviews with the RIBA presidential candidates

Jane Duncan

Oliver Richards

Previous story (AJ 17.06.14)

The race hots up: Richards reveals backers in presidential election

Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw, John Assael, and Piers Gough have all thrown their weight behind Oliver Richards as he vies to become the next RIBA president

John Assael, of AJ100-ranked Assael Architecture, who was previously reported to be in the running for the role, has backed founder of ORMS Oliver Richards as the presidential candidates’ race heats up.

As the campaigning period closes, Assael called for a president who can ‘revolutionise the system to deliver a more flexible and appropriate model, and said he believed only Richards ‘has the skills and experience to drive through these changes’.

Assael, said: ‘The RIBA needs radical change if it is properly to serve its members and consumers. He [Richards] was vice president responsible for education at the RIBA, and this experience will be invaluable. He has set up and built an outstanding practice with an international reputation for design and this will give him great authority in dealing with government, other related professional bodies and indeed architects.’

While Terry Farrell founder of Farrells, added: ‘As the founding partner of an internationally recognised practice, Oliver has the wealth of experience required for this role, being able to lead a group of built environment professionals towards the same goal.’

Richards is standing on a pledge to ‘put architects first’. In his first 90 days, he has promised to review how local branches are supported, promote alternative routes into the profession, begin remodelling the clients’ advisory service and the competitions office, and set up cabinet-style governance and a team to deliver his plans.

Richards is up against current RIBA equality and diversity champion, Jane Duncan, in the race to follow on from current president Stephen Hodder.

Yesterday Duncan, who has pledged to focus on pride, profit and people, revealed that four past-presidents and American architect Denise Scott Brown had backed her campaign.

The presidential campaigning period ends today (17 June), with ballot papers sent out to members from 18 June to 1 July.

Previous story (AJ 16.06.14)

Scott Brown backs Duncan’s RIBA presidency bid

Denise Scott Brown has joined past-presidents Angela Brady, Ruth Reed, Sunand Prasad, and Jack Pringle, in backing Jane Duncan’s campaign to become the next RIBA president

In a letter, originally sent to Duncan, Scott Brown said she thought Duncan would be able to ‘roll with the unusual while getting on with the everyday’.

Brown said Duncan ‘could bring many dimensions to bear on the RIBA’s presidential tasks and do them with grace, fun and high personal involvement. Diversity in particular should be tackled in this spirit.’ 

Last month, Buckinghamshire-based architect Duncan, who is the current RIBA equality and diversity champion, unveiled a three-point plan which focuses on ‘pride, profit and people’.

She pledged to communicate the value of the RIBA to its members, address the pay disparity between men and women, and promote the leadership of architects in the construction industry.

Duncan is up against Oliver Richards, the founder of London’s ORMS, in the race to follow on from current president Stephen Hodder in September.  

In his first 90 days, Richards has promised to review how local branches are supported, promote alternative routes into the profession, begin remodelling the clients’ advisory service and the competitions office, and set up cabinet-style governance and a team to deliver his plans.

Richards has received letters of support from Terry Farrell, founder of Stirling Prize-winning practice Stanton Williams, Alan Stanton and Walters and Cohen founder Cindy Walters, among others.

The presidential campaigning period is set to end on the 17 June, with ballot papers sent out to members from 18 June to 1 July.

An extract of Denise Scott Brown’s letter

denise

I met Jane in London in 2011 at the RIBA. We came together to talk about many things but one was to take on a tricky diplomatic task. Jane responded immediately and sympathetically.

I formed an impression of Jane as a person with a firm mind and good heart, who would bring her sympathies to bear on a problem and not let help, when needed, be limited by what might be considered the norm. I think she would be able to roll with the unusual while getting on very well with the everyday. 

What I have read about her in the testimonials goes along with this impression. I feel she could bring many dimensions to bear on the RIBA’s  Presidential tasks and do them with grace, fun and high personal involvement. Diversity in particular should be tackled in this spirit. In my experience, our office was most fun at its most diverse, and it helped us to serve our clients well. It was no hair shirt.  

Jane showed me that this would be her approach problems. I believe she would be a passionate, spirited, highly efficient and much loved President. 

Denise Scott Brown,

Principal Venturi Scott Brown and Associates,

Philadelphia, PA

Previous story (AJ 15.05.14)

Candidates for RIBA presidency publish manifestos

The two confirmed candidates vying to become the next RIBA president have today set out their manifestos

Jane Duncan and Oliver Richards remain the only runners in the contest to succeed current RIBA president Stephen Hodder in September 2015 after John Assael officially withdrew last week.

Buckinghamshire-based architect Duncan, who is the current RIBA equality and diversity champion, has unveiled a three-point plan which focuses on ‘pride, profit and people’.

She said: ‘[I want to] restore pride in being an architect and in the creative and influential work we do; drive up fees through campaigning for payment appropriate to skills and experience; and improve diversity in the profession to ensure our long-term financial success and sustainability.’

To achieve these aims she wants to, among other things, widen access and increase support for members through the institute, regions and branches and make communications at all levels more transparent.’

Richards, the founder of London’s ORMS, is standing on a pledge to ‘put architects first’. He said: ‘Too many architects – and in particular the next generation of younger architects – are sceptical about what the RIBA can achieve. Worse still, they regard it as irrelevant and inward looking.

In his first 90 days, Richard has promised to review how local branches are supported, promote alternative routes into the profession, begin remodeling the clients’ advisory service and the competitions office, and set up cabinet-style governance and a team to deliver his plans.

Read the full manifestos here:

Jane Duncan www.jane4riba.com

Oliver Richards www.Richards4Riba.com

Voting is pencilled in to take place between the 17 June and 23 July.

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