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Head of RIBA Architecture Centre quits over funding . . .

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The director of the RIBA's Architecture Centre has resigned after rows about funding.

Victoria Thornton, who worked three-and-ahalf days a week at the centre, said she was stepping down after a three-year stint in the job because of 'mixed messages' - she felt the institute was not devoting enough funds to exhibitions while at the same time promoting them as a draw to subscribers.

The RIBA gives £1500 a year to the centre, from which it stages 15 exhibitions and projects. That works out at a measly £100 per exhibition before sponsorship. Last year the centre raised £250,000 in extra cash and payment in kind, but it was a struggle to plan effectively without certainty of funding.

Thornton said she would turn her attention to Architectural Dialogue, the research and publications venture, and Open House, which aims to attract 500,000 visitors this year. 'I'm not just giving up, ' she said. 'The passion hasn't left.'

One drain on the centre is thought to be a deal struck by RIBA DG Alex Reid with Patisserie Valerie at Portland Place. Under the deal, £500 compensation is payable by the centre to the cafe if there is no exhibition in the Florence Hall for three weeks in any calendar month. This happened for the first time in November.

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