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Fury as RIAS turns its back on Evolution

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Former RIAS president Gordon Murray has branded the incorporation's decision to kill off plans to move out of its headquarters in Rutland Square, Edinburgh, as a victory for 'neo-conservatives'.

Last week the RIAS council decided against proposals to relocate from its current home, a Georgian townhouse, to Reiach and Hall's award-winning Evolution House office development in West Point (pictured above).

The decision comes almost four years after a relocation working group began looking into the incorporation's accommodation and accessibility needs - an investigation supported by the late Andy Doolan.

Now Murray, a key member of the group and an advocate of a possible move to Evolution House, has hit out at the councillors who pooh-poohed the proposals.

He said: '[The] recommendations' failure to find majority support within Council members by a narrow margin resulting from block voting confirms that neo-conservatism is alive and well in the profession.

'It is unlikely that this group will accept anything short of a restoration of Rutland Square as a renewed RIAS HQ.'

He added: 'I don't think the idea of moving headquarters is completely dead, just that we no longer have the window of opportunity to move into Evolution House. That has now gone.'

However, Edinburgh-based architect Benjamin Tindall believes the relocation plans were never going to win favour with the majority of members.

He said: 'It was a crazy suggestion and the people who were proposing it should be considering their position.

'There is a general consensus of everybody across the RIAS that it was financially crazy to give up this asset. It's all to do with image.'

Tindall concluded: 'A lot was made about the accessibility of Rutland Square, but the new proposal was even more inaccessible. You can't even get close to the front door there.'

by Richard Waite

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