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'New Labour, New RIBA, New Architecture,' says Rock

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riba president David Rock has set out his objectives for the institute over the next two years - to help architects become 'indispensable' by identifying society's problems and helping to solve them.

In a paper on his goals to be presented to council this week, Rock said the overall aim was to demonstrate the value of architecture and architects. 'A Better Deal for Architecture and Architects' would include emphasising their relevance and ability to add value.

'We have to earn respect and the right to be in the top flight by being indispensable, as I believe we are, to clients and society so they will look to us for the best value for money, in the fullest sense of that phrase,' he said. 'We must believe that the word architect means a cultured, skilled and respected person, and we must see the riba as an academy of design which must promote design in the widest sense.'

Rock wants to give members a 'proactive, aggressive riba worthy of a high public profile and esteem', where the multifaceted skill base of the profession is emphasised, along with the need to liaise strongly with government. 'We have a tremendous opportunity which we must take to rebuild our influence with the government,' he said. 'New Labour, New riba, New Architecture!'

He said the riba also needed to link better with the rest of the construction industry and communicate information to its members better, since its magazine, the riba Journal, 'no longer sees its role as reflecting or communicating riba issues'. Members of the press will be allowed to sit in on working meetings.

Internally, Rock wants the institute to have a vision of where it wants to be in 10 years' time - a new, specific corporate plan to replace the 1993-1998 plan, and one which should be accompanied by a business plan. He also wants better communication between departments, a 'results-driven ethos' to replace the 'process-directed' one in place at the moment, and for the institute's image to improve the courtesy of council without 'small- minded, introverted bickering', 'witch hunts' or the settling of 'old scores'.

Council will also hear nominations for the main committees for the year. A Policy Studies board is proposed to include Roger Stonehouse, Terry Farrell, John Lyall, Mike Fletcher, Frank Duffy, Roger Zogolovitch and aj editor Paul Finch, while Will Alsop figures as a recommendation for the membership & international affairs board.

David Taylor

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