I support Marco Goldschmied as the next riba president. As a practising architect, I need the institute to look forward and outward, and be alert to its members' changing needs.
As an riba vice president, I look for a leadership of Council which is inspirational and accommodating, ambitious and progressive, energetic and attentive, and above all intelligent and effective in political and managerial terms.
Without such leadership the riba can become dogged by disputes, distracted by wrangling, and choked on rhetoric. This was the 'old way' which we saw much of in the past, and the institute suffered as a result. Happily, a number of the more distinguished recent presidencies have combined a record of architectural achievement with outstanding managerial skill, placing to the fore both the promotion of architecture, and effective organisation. We are fortunate in that respect.
Of course, there have been mistakes, but during recent times that have threatened us with recession and challenged us with change, much has been achieved. I believe that Goldschmied is now the best candidate to build further on those successes.
Representing a persuasive blend of ability and awareness, he has that rare capacity to bridge the ever-yawning gap between large commercial offices and local practice, both of which make an invaluable contribution to our profession.
Marco understands small practice, and the difficulties of establishing an office, because he has been there - he joined Richard Rogers in 1969 when it was a four-person outfit. As managing director of the Richard Rogers Partnership since 1977, he also understands the difficulties and complexities of running a large operation.
With this background he is in a unique position to advance the interests and comprehend the ups and downs of our disparate and often desperate profession. Few can match the breadth of his experience.
He is also well placed to address the apparent growing rifts that generate increasingly hostile relationships between our institute and the arb. Civil war is bloody, and few gain. As an arb board member Marco can introduce a better understanding within the arb of riba concerns, and thus lead us all towards a more co-operative and productive future.
British architects enjoy a distinguished reputation throughout the world. Through the work of his office, Marco has done more than most to advance that reputation. He has also been instrumental in influencing this country's growing commitment to architecture across a wide range from cultural to commercial and from retail to research buildings.
But his interests are also firmly focused upon tomorrow's agenda with a concern for buildings and land-use strategies that will promote a more sustainable future: he believes that architecture's role is diminished if its existence generates an ecologically hostile environment.
Through his instinctive empathy with practice at all its levels, Marco Goldschmied offers a leadership that will enable us to construct a bold and worthy agenda for responsible change and development. He is also in an unequalled position, through the formidable contacts of his office, to make effective representation on behalf of architecture and architects at the highest levels of government, commerce and industry.
It is always sad to choose among candidates when each has such strong commitment towards the well-being of our profession - but in pursuit of an outward and a forward vision I vote for Goldschmied.