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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.

Video interviews with the RIBA presidential candidates

Jane Duncan

Oliver Richards

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

Video interviews with the RIBA presidential candidates

Jane Duncan

Oliver Richards

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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