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Brady vows to make architects integral to the Big Society

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Angela Brady, future president of the RIBA, has vowed to make the institute more outward-looking and position architects at the heart of the coalition government’s Big Society plans

In September 2011, the director of London-based Brady Mallalieu Architects  will take over from current RIBA president Ruth Reed, becoming only the second woman to lead the institute in its 176-year history.

The co-presenter of Channel 4’s The Home Show said: ‘I want to turn the RIBA 180 degrees so that it is looking outwards – there are enough people looking at the internal nitty-gritty of the organisation.

‘The key thing is to engage with our membership, because there are a lot of disenchanted people out there. We also need to engage more with the public, from the grass-roots-level up.’

Describing prime minister David Cameron’s Big Society as an ‘idea that suits the profession down to the ground’, Brady said: ‘The government doesn’t know how to do Big Society, but we do.

‘We need to share our skills and give people a better understanding of our built environment, so they will value good architecture and place and insist on it,’ she added.

Brady, who will become the 74th president of the RIBA, saw off competition from architecture professor Richard Parnaby and architect and town planner Roger Shrimplin to win the two-year role.

As a result of her victory, Brady will give up positions on six different committees, including her role as vice chair of the Civic Trust Awards and chair of the Women in Architecture group.

However, she believes architects should be more involved with committees and boards, and added that the profession should become more businesslike.

‘We have lost value as a profession by being too aloof and elitist, and by giving away some of our core skills like project management and cost control because they were not interesting enough,’ she said. ‘Now we are giving away our core design skills for free in the hope of securing work. This is business suicide.’

Brady will serve as president-elect from September until her formal accession next year.



Angela Brady was born in Dublin and graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology. She is a CABE enabler, a fellow of the RIAI and RSA, and chair of the Women in Architecture group. She co-founded Brady Mallalieu Architects in 1987.

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