riba president Marco Goldschmied risks being accused of putting his private practice before his duties for the institute when he becomes the first president ever to miss council voluntarily next week. Richard Rogers Partnership (rrp) managing director Goldschmied is planning to miss the 17 May meeting of the riba's executive body, at which he was to have personally announced the winner of the institute's top prize, the Royal Gold Medal. He was also set to name the new £100,000 a year chief executive to succeed Alex Reid.
Goldschmied is travelling to Sydney - rrp has been shortlisted in a masterplanning competition for the Parramatta area of the Australian city. rrp is collaborating with local practice Michael Davies and competing against five other teams.
The institute does not yet know who will take the chair at council in the president's place. Constitutional expert and former honorary secretary Maurice McCarthy said he had once taken the chair on the day after Prince Charles made his 'carbuncle' speech and president Michael Manser had to attend to media interviews. Goldschmied's absence was 'not against the rules' and decisions were only null and void if council was inquorate. 'But it's ironic that the on the day of transfer from the old to whoever it is as the new chief executive, the instigator is not going to be there,' he said.
The institute was also late in sending out papers for discussion this week but they will contain the largest list of honorary fellows ever proposed. The 37 names include aj contributor Kenneth Powell, culture secretary Chris Smith - for his 'knowledgable statements on architecture' - Daniel Libeskind, developer Elliot Bernerd, engineer Tim MacFarlane, Kit Martin, Imagination founder Gary Withers, Sir Michael Latham, Swiss architects Peter Zumthor, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Future Systems' Jan Kaplicky. The list also includes Francis Golding, the unsuccesful candidate for ARB chief executive, but never, as the institute says in Golding's citation, chief executive of cabe. He is a consultant.
The riba will next week make a statement about televising the Stirling Prize (aj 23.3.00).