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Ferguson urged to show courage

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In the week George Ferguson (pictured) takes over the presidency of the RIBA, a leading radical in council has called on him to bring in sweeping changes.

Chris Roche, founding partner of Shoreditchbased 11.04 Architects, has published an extensive paper aimed at overhauling the institute's working practices, 'modernising them for the 21st century'.

The pressure is on the new president, with a series of possible contenders already outlining plans to run for the hot-seat in 2005.

London Region chair Simon Foxell, Edinburgh mover and shaker Richard Murphy, and the vice-president for practice and former BDP chairman Richard Saxon have all told the AJ that they are waiting in the wings.

Other candidates believed to be lining up for the race are London First chief executive Valerie Owen, RIBA vice-president for education Jack Pringle and Simon Allford of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Roche's paper - which reads like a presidential manifesto - says Ferguson should have the 'courage to pursue radical change' rather than his current position of 'radical continuity'.

It demands that the president shake up the institute's council to make it accessible to all 'races, genders, classes and sexual orientations'.

And it also calls for the RIBA to do more to eradicate sexism in the profession, by forcing all practices to develop an equal opportunities policy.

Other proposed reforms include a limit on the number of architects entering the profession as a way of protecting jobs, and a minimum wage for RIBA qualified architects. Roche's 'manifesto' also insists the RIBA should do more to look after the interests of architects.

'CABE, the Architecture Foundation and others do a very good job of promoting architecture. If the RIBA does not promote architects, nobody else is going to do so, ' he says.

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