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Political impotence of RIBA is frustrating

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letters

I write on the eve of the announcement of the new president of the RIBA - a non-event to many Part 3 students such as myself. The outcome is irrelevant, because inevitably the future president will spout the same rhetoric as the last one.

Within the next few months, I will have to decide whether or not I wish to become a member of an organisation from which I feel disenfranchised.

It seems there is little need for the RIBA, which is not even endorsed by the government, unlike the ARB. The often contradictory and confusing division of administrative roles between these two organisations is pointless.

The RIBA is seemingly inadequate in fulfilling its role as a professional body, as shown by the reception of its proposals for education two years ago.

The profession's administrative needs could easily be filled by the ARB. Surely we would be better served by an institution that actually carries some political weight and lobbies for our interests as a profession, rather than one which is politically impotent.

During the tenure of the present Labour government, architecture and the built environment have gained a high profile politically. As a result, our profession is fortunate enough to have Lord Rogers, one of its most respected members, in a position that is arguably more politically potent than that of our own president, whoever that might be.

Sadly, Lord Rogers has received a paltry amount of support from the RIBA - it has simply stood back and watched as the proposals of his Urban Task Force have been slowly thrown out of the window by the government.

This is scandalous - we should be up in arms, but we are not. To imagine the BMA doing such a thing is inconceivable.

That Paul Hyett celebrates Lord Rogers' achievements when he has done little or nothing to publicly support him, sickens me.

Hyett and many other senior RIBA members may scoff when Will Alsop postulates the idea that the Architecture Foundation could become an organisation to rival the RIBA, but this is not so unimaginable.

The apolitical nature of the RIBA frustrates me, and its needless clinging to the administrative fragments of its professional role continually holds it back.

I would relish the opportunity to become part of a professional body that is not afraid of political dialogue and fearlessly fights for the needs of its members.

Greg Lomas, student

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