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RIBA councillor calls for more representation from the big guns

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RIBA councillor John Assael is leading a chorus of RIBA council members calling for bigger architecture practices to get involved in council matters.

Speaking at the last RIBA council meeting, Assael asked why representation from the large firms, such as those in the top ten of the AJ100 list, was not evident at council.

Assael said: 'We need to be talking more about practices, and not individual architects. I would like to know why there is no representation from the bigger practices at council? They make a far bigger impact on the UK built environment, so why are they not more involved?'

At present there is only one representative from the top ten firms, in the shape of RSAW president Jonathan Adams of Capita Architecture, and only a handful from the rest of the AJ100 list.

Assael also called for more involvement from US practices working in the UK - such as HOK and SOM - to bring a better balance to the RIBA council.

Simon Allford of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, who is RIBA vice president of education, said: 'Large practices should be represented, regardless if they're American or not - however, I am wary of excessive corporate involvement.

'It should be about large practices that are good practices - more precisely, smart practices of all scales.'

RIBA president Jack Pringle welcomed the idea of large firms becoming involved but was quick to point out that there is heavy involvement in the RIBA from high-profile architects such as Norman Foster.

Pringle said: 'It would be very helpful if the bigger guns did get involved in the council, but I think we have been pretty successful in luring big names in the past, such as Norman Foster, who this year launched his student travel bursary and spoke at the RIBA conference in Venice.'

by Richard Vaughan

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