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Derbyshire, Jones and Salter in three-man race for RIBA presidency

  • 2 Comments

Conservation specialist Andrew Salter has joined Northern Irish architect Alan Jones and HTA’s Ben Derbyshire in the race to become the next president of the RIBA 

Salter, an AABC-accredited architect with Banbury-based Acanthus Clews, was confirmed this morning by the institute as one of the three official candidates vying to succeed current president Jane Duncan.

Last week it emerged that Jones, a director of architecture education at Queen’s University Belfast since 2008 and the RIBA’s vice president of education, had decided to throw his hat into the ring alongside Derbyshire.

HTA chair Derbyshire revealed his intention to run back in April when the RIBA councillor asked for nominations for the role, which will begin in September 2017. 

The presidential elections will be conducted independently by the Electoral Reform Services and and voting will open on 4 July.

At that point voting information – including formal candidate statements and instructions on how to vote – will be sent to members via email or by post.

Balloting will end on 8 August, and the result will be announced on 11 August.

Derbyshire has already launched a dedicated website outlining his bid. Jones’ and Salter’s sites are expected to go live in the coming days.

For more information visit:

Statements on the presidential bids:

- Andrew Salter

With substantial RIBA Board level experience covering a period of six consecutive years, I am familiar with the breadth and depth of the institute, having held the posts of regional chairman RIBA South, chairman of RIBA Nations and Regions, RIBA vice president membership 2007-2009, RIBA honorary secretary 2009-2013 and currently a member of the Conservation Accreditation Steering Group.

As president my emphasis will be on connection with our members, nations and regions

As RIBA president my emphasis will be on connection with our members, nations and regions and on the importance of their contribution regionally, nationally and internationally, including direct access by the membership to influence policy matters using digital means and to reinvigorate discussion in innovation.

We need to expand our outreach to the profession, the construction industry and the public, in the promotion of the measurable value of good design, increasing engagement with government, national and local as a reliable source for solutions. 

Most of all this is about you, that as a vibrant community we can do more together than as individuals, and that this is the strength of an institute, its members and its staff – to construct joint ventures and initiatives that articulate what is unique about our profession and its valuable contribution to society.

- Alan Jones

The RIBA has the potential to be more nimble, relevant and engaging. My nominators believe I have the skills, enthusiasm and experience to lead the RIBA toward a better future; to be the inclusive, relevant institute we need it to be. 

Who am I? I was a member of RIBA Council 2008-14 and received a strong national vote for 2015-18. I appreciate practice and education, and the differences between London and elsewhere. Ten years in practice in London, now in the RIBA Ulster region – teaching and practising. Member and chair of many visiting boards to schools of architecture – UK and worldwide. Seven years with Michael Hopkins & Partners and three years with David Morley Architects. Immediate past president of the RSUA and member of RSUA Council since 1998. Previously a judge of RIAS, RSUA and RIBA awards and the RIAS Doolan prize. Currently RIBA vice-president education 2015-17 and a member of RIBA Board 2015-17.

What do I stand for? Thought, debate, innovation and critical discourse. The RIBA must: become a focus for discourse, research and innovation around the core subject of architecture and the changing nature of how it is created; inform and inspire current and future members and supporters beyond 66 Portland Place; incorporate leading contributors from other institutes; engage actively with politics, setting up a system of RIBA spokespersons and experts; continue to develop the RIBA’s role by developing a critical publishing house.

Representing architects and promoting architecture and architects: improve the opportunities for good architecture, regionally, nationally and internationally; demonstrate the evidence of the value of architects and the benefits of good fee levels; serve the needs of members in established and new enterprises, and throughout working practice; acknowledging, understanding and celebrating different forms of success; ensure the RIBA becomes more representative, aware of why some choose not to join.

Understanding the needs of the profession: engaging with, and learning from, changes in practice across the diverse range of practices and practitioners, as more architects locate themselves outside traditional practice and within other bodies.

Leading regionally, nationally, internationally, utilising the strengths of the RIBA network to empower and support its network of members globally; and by reviewing funding of the network, to allow medium-term financial planning.

Educating architects of the future - future architects and future architecture: drive forward the Review of Architectural Education; ensure that an architect’s education, expertise and passion places them within practice; promote the relationship between excellence in architectural education and the success of the profession; engage with leading practice and trends in environmental design, business skills, entrepreneurship, fostering greater professionalism; stimulate debate on the attributes of ‘the new architect’ in conjunction with schools of architecture; explore the possibilities of combining work and study/apprenticeships as a low-cost alternative to full-time study at university.

I want less autonomy, more transparency and to review the RIBA awards to protect their continued relevance

Reviewing and improving: less autonomy, more transparency; review the RIBA awards to protect their continued relevance across the globe; review other aspects of management and leadership.

Our institute, our profession: inspire staff and members to realise the potential of the new agreed 2016-2020 vision; forge new connections and alliances between practice, research and education.

- Ben Derbyshire

I want to put architects back at the heart of the RIBA.

According to our recently announced five-year strategy, the RIBA is ‘a global professional membership body driving excellence in architecture’. But how? I believe the RIBA should champion the people behind excellence in architecture. I believe it should champion you.

Our profession needs a more efficient, more direct RIBA. One able to champion both architects and the architecture we create, with the courage to use our subscriptions to deliver real value. An RIBA driven by our needs, equipped to lead us into a more prosperous future.

This means the RIBA needs to change. To bring through the most highly trained architects, it must demand more from the universities that supply them. To encourage a fairer environment for practising architects, it must redefine what we represent. But to do any of this, it first of all needs you.

This is your chance to put the RIBA back in the hands of architects

This is your chance to put the RIBA back in the hands of architects. A vote for me is a vote for an experienced, practising architect with 30 years at the coalface of the industry. An architect who shares your commitment, drive and passion for the profession, and can now use that as a force for real change.

Find out more by visiting my campaign website www.FutuRIBA.co.uk and watch out for the hashtag: #VoteForBen! My campaign website lists over 100 chartered members including past presidents, leading practitioners and academics who share my vision and have nominated me. See what many members, clients, critics and commentators say about me and why they believe I am up to the job. Visit www.futuRIBA.co.uk and #VoteForBen.

My policy agenda: We must rebalance the RIBA’s work between promoting architecture and promoting architects.

A high priority is to improve equality, diversity and inclusivity in the profession. A more open and more highly valued profession will attract a younger and more diverse membership. We must improve the value of the membership package.

We will have to make more efficient use of resources and restore our finances. We must get rid of institutional silo structure, so that the organisation is fit for purpose in the 21st century. This requires excellent management and leadership.

We should accelerate change in the quality control of education and professional practice. We need to introduce a new, better, cross-industry, internationally recognised code of ethics.

We can only effect the outcomes we seek by collaborating with other professionals, with the constructors, with our clients and with the public. We must focus with them on research and building a valuable body of knowledge.

We must build on the excellent start made by Jane Duncan and see through the changes necessary over the longer term.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Ben Derbyshire

    I have been leading a private practice for decades during which time we have come through three recessions, we have built a succession structure, and I have the space and resources now to give something back to the profession.

    I have been around the RIBA for two years - not yet subsumed into the establishment, but close enough to understand something of how the institution thinks. For a host of reasons it needs to change - a lot. It needs to learn how to champion Architects so that they can serve its purpose of advancing Architecture. Architects are the best promoters of Architecture and the RIBA is nothing without its members.

    The Presidency is a job I can do because I have the resources, the experience, and because I don't NEED to do it - I WANT to do it if the electorate chose me for the task. If they do, I'll remind them always that we need to do it together. Its a job for a bigger, younger and more diverse membership than now to do in collaboration, not a job for one person.

    I respect the other candidates and have appreciated reading their manifestos at last. I look forward to the hustings. Whoever wins, I hope we can work together to build on Jane Duncan's foundation for change and begin to create a more prosperous and highly respected profession.

    Ben Derbyshire.
    Chairman, HTA Design LLP.

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  • For the RIBA to even exist in 10 years, architects need to be put front and centre in priority.
    It has to be led by someone who earns their living from being at the coalface everyday - and who understands the highs and lows of practice - unshielded from the effect of recessions on your paycheque. It needs to be led by someone who is not embedded in the RIBA machine - who has sufficient distance to carry out the very tough decisions needed.
    It has to be led by a practising architect who knows the bottom line.We a practising architect and employer of architects with vision, time, resources and passion.

    It is also refreshing to see someone championing architects at last. That is no.1, everything else follows.
    We have shown what is possible in Manchester using this very approach:
    Engagement up 30% in one year
    Our council 50% female
    Our Council 50% under 35.

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