• I want to be an accountable president who will take notice and act on members’ needs and wishes without compromise. I want to be a president that increases our Institute’s high public profile.
• I believe membership of the RIBA must convey tangible benefits.
• I want RIBA members to be acknowledged by the building industry as the leaders in environmentally friendly design and construction methods.
• Our Institute must be transparent in structure and its workings visible to all. I want it to be younger and more diverse so that it better reflects the composition of our modern profession.
• I want the RIBA website to be more interactive with its users and reactive to a continuously changing environment, to be the gateway to our knowledge community and to become the best of its kind in the world., I believe too much of this money is spent in London or delivered through London.
Architecture is hugely important, it effects all our lives, but generally it is not given the attention our changing world requires. We must demand and get more influence over the levers that shape our future.”
The RIBA Trust and the British Architectural Library Trust (BALT) currently spend considerable sums promoting architecture, architectural knowledge and research into architecture on a national and international level.
I wholeheartedly support their work, however, I believe too much of this money is spent in London or delivered through London.
Use the RIBA’s Regional Network to deliver the Trust’s initiatives to the whole of the UK
Currently the Trust is very active in Liverpool promoting and managing the “Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture” exhibition which is part of the City’s year as the European City of Culture. It is using the facilities and assets of the RIBA North East region to achieve this. The Regional Network is the organisation set up to deliver such a service but the RIBA doesn’t make enough use of it.
The Trust must become more regionally focussed so that the whole of the UK can benefit from its excellent work.
Create an annual “60 over 60” exhibition at the RIBA
The RIBA places much emphasis on promoting emerging practices. I want to redress that balance by highlighting the work of more mature designers that might have been previously overlooked.
I want to instigate an annual “60 over 60” exhibition that will start at Portland Place and travel nationally to regional galleries. It will be broadcast through our new international city network () via the internet. There could be an annual prize for the oldest exhibitor.
Architects in Practice
All members have experienced a continuous increase in information required by local authorities to register a planning application. What is most insidious is the cynical abuse of the system by planning departments to slow applications down or reject them with the minimum of notice. The eight and thirteen week rule has generated all sorts of new tactics designed by planners to manipulate their efficiency records.
It is, of course, deeply ironic that planning departments complain of manpower shortages to justify the current mess, however, they seem to be employing more and more consultants to “advise” architects on disabled access, urban planning, energy efficiency, traffic management, crime prevention, listed buildings, conservation areas. There are over 40 subject criteria in the new form that a planner can request be included in the submitted documentation before a scheme is registered. Control
We know that aesthetics are a material criterion when assessing a planning application, however this is all too often used by planners and planning committees to impose conservative uniformity, “fitting in” and extreme modesty on our schemes.
Planners can’t resist tinkering with applications, they micro manage uses and impose tiny, inconsequential alterations. They see buildings only in respect to their external manifestation and Use. They are unable to appreciate that a building is designed from the inside out and not visa versa.
• Encourage planning authorities to make use of Design Review Panel
We set up a Planning and Urbanism Group in RIBA London and one of their tasks has been to approach all boroughs and encourage them to set up independent design review panels structured on the CABE model. The resulting “crits” have been thoughtful, controversial and highly entertaining, certainly not the comfortable back slapping festivals of cronyism that some observers predicted. Councils recognise that the RIBA is uniquely placed to help them create interesting panels with a mixture of youth and experience, local knowledge and specific expertise.
• Review of the law surrounding the image rights and copyright of architect’s work
I will set up a panel of relevant specialists to review this area of copyright and report back to Council with their findings. This might result in minor but important additions to the Standard Form of Appointment. It is my experience that when lawyers discover a new and fruitful area of conflict they can be be generous with their time to establish a future market.
• Copyright/Image Rights
We all know that the copyright protection surrounding photographs of our work is far stronger than that covering the original design. The RIBA Standard Form of Appointment doesn’t give the architect any scope to capitalise on the use of images of their work. The building can often be employed as a back-drop for photographic shoots or in movies without any recognition of, or payment to, the author. This is in sharp contrast to the film’s script or musical score.
• Set up an RIBA planning support group
A by-product of the design review panels mentioned above should be a group that supports exceptional schemes as they pass through the planning system. Cheerleaders that lobby the press, local amenity groups, planning committees and other organisations that grind down, disrupt and delay schemes. On the other hand we must also be impartial enough to criticise schemes that are not as good as they should be.
• Architects’ Fees
I have misgivings about the way that the RIBA publishes fee scale information. Clients use this historic information to to “chip” the fee and so, as the years go by, fees reduce further. At the same time more and more is expected from the architect as additional legislation is introduced and so we do more and more for less and less.
• Get wise about architects’ fees and appointments
The RIBA must review the way in publishes fee information with much more emphasis on services rendered rather than fee received. Members must be given more advice about how to charge fees so that their incomes rise. Appointment forms must be much more specific about additional chargeable fees and sections must cover charges for image rights.
• Reducing Carbon Emissions
Architects must be recognised by the building industry as the leaders in environmentally friendly design and construction methods.
I want to be an accountable president
I want to be an accountable president who will take notice and act on members’ needs and wishes without compromise. I want to be a president that increases the institute’s high public profile and influence
Create a President’s blog on our web site
I will be directly accessible by the membership through a blog which will provide up to date information on my activities, successes and failures. Members will be able to send messages to me which will give me direct access to individual suggestions and comments.
I want the RIBA to be a transparent and outward looking organisation.
Many members don’t know or care how the RIBA is organised or structured which means that they cannot effectively influence or change it. The RIBA has to make much more of an effort to explain its structure to the membership, to remove the aura of exclusivity and encourage all members to get involved in appropriate and rewarding events.
The RIBA networks
I believe that membership of the RIBA must convey tangible benefits.”
The RIBA controls dozens of networks; the pyramid of specialist committees that culminates in the National Council, the regional network made up of local societies and regional councils, and most importantly, its 42,000 members. I do not believe that the RIBA capitalises enough on these networks and consequently does not provide adequate benefits to its membership. The RIBA’s web site, potentially one of its most valuable assets, is difficult to navigate, visually uninspiring and does not sufficiently interact with its users
Let’s start with the most commercial proposal:
• The RIBA has 42,000 members which should enable it to negotiate significant discounts for bulk purchases of goods and services.
I want to introduce a plan where the RIBA negotiates discounts specifically tailored for its members such as museum, exhibition and gallery entry, hotel accommodation, debt collection, accountancy services, printing, stationery, car hire, software and IT services etc. The RIBA membership card would, at last, have a use.
I would also investigate why members are not given discounts in the RIBA bookshop and for products produced by RIBA companies such as the NBS.
• Create an international city to city, region to region network.
I will set up an international web-based network connecting city-based architectural institutes throughout the world to the RIBA. It will create a network to be used for the sharing of information, ideas, exhibitions, staff exchange and business opportunities. It will operate through the RIBA web site, and compliment the RIBA’s burgeoning international relationships and promote its overseas membership opportunities
• Create a national business networking club.
I will use the Regional Network to organise country-wide networking clubs. This will involve events where architects meet potential clients, other consultants or other architects. Events would be themed or orientated to local or national opportunities.
RIBA London staged a “speed dating” evening last year where we invited 100 emerging practices to pitch for 6 minutes each in front of 20 Olympic clients, at the sound of a bell they moved round to their next client. We also held a dinner at the top of the Gherkin on the same theme where the major organisers of 2012 were questioned by an invited audience
cities and regional councils, and most importantly, its 42,000 members. I do not believe that the RIBA capitalises enough on these networks and consequently does not provide adequate benefits to its membership. The RIBA’s web site, potentially one of its most valuable assets, is difficult to navigate, visually uninspiring and does not sufficiently interact with its users.
The RIBA will support smaller practices and emerging architects through the promotion of group practice.
By group practice, I mean the grouping together of smaller practices to enable them to bid and carry out larger projects. I want the RIBA to promote this form of practice by marketing, through its own insurance agency, sympathetic professional indemnity policies and to identify this in the RIBA Appointment. We will organise national workshops to promote the idea amongst members and lobby government to recognise this as a valuable way to enable the majority of our members to compete for the larger, publicly funded projects.
• Support younger practitioners by creating a social networking club
This will be modelled on “The Social”, the London Region’s networking club being launched in the summer. Aimed at younger practitioners it will combine regular social events with visits to buildings. Similar clubs in other professions such as the RICS’ Matrix club want to host joint events. I am determined to improve the RIBA’s image with younger members and help them make useful business contacts.
The Social’s launch event will be a go-carting evening featuring a race between teams led by Will Alsop and FAT, followed by a visit to a new housing scheme by FAT.
• The RIBA web site - architecture.com
I want the web site to become more interactive to its users and reactive to continual change to be the gateway to our knowledge community. I want it to become the best of its kind in the world. This will involve a re-organisation of the presentation of information and a unification of other elements such as the Ribanet chat rooms and the research Wiki. The site is not responsive enough and too many pages are static such as the regional sites which only display the most basic information. The web site should be our most powerful promotion tool and the main gateway, both nationally and internationally, into the RIBA