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Consider all options but conditions must be met

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Letters

I am surprised my name was included (AJ 31.1.02) in a group of eminent architects who reportedly have approached the RIBA to ask it to move the drawings collection to the Royal Academy. Although a draft letter to Paul Hyett to that effect was indeed sent to me to sign, I declined to do so, for reasons given below.

It is true that early in my RIBA presidency I was in serious discussion with the then RA president Sir Philip Dowson and his senior staff for just such a purpose.

However, the RA's acquisition of the Museum of Mankind looked to be a distant dream and the discussion went no further.

Therefore, I later welcomed the tangible and generous Victoria and Albert Museum offer for a joint architecture initiative, housed at the V&A, and was happy to sign the letter of intent between the RIBA and the V&A in June 1999.

Clearly the RIBA would be irresponsible, even now, not to consider attractive approaches from other suitable partners - but only under certain conditions. These would include that the approach be put formally by the approaching institution; and accompanied by financial guarantees, more than sufficient to cover both the costs incurred by the RIBA and the grant currently requested from, and yet to be determined by, the Heritage Lottery Fund. A very considerable sum in total.

David Rock, past president, RIBA

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