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RIAS on cusp of leaving historic headquarters

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The RIAS is on the verge of leaving its Edinburgh headquarters, it has emerged.

The incorporation is going to debate leaving the historic Georgian townhouse in Rutland Square at a council meeting scheduled for next week.

Council members will decide whether to put a proposal - to move into a part of Edinburgh College of Art - to a full vote of all RIAS members.

Chief executive Mary Wren, who insists that she is neutral on whether to move or not, has highlighted that there are serious problems with the 1819 building.

She said there were major issues with converting the building to make it DDA-compliant. This, she said, would be an 'extremely tricky job'.

Wren also went on to say that there was a question over the image that 'an organisation like the RIAS' should project to the outside world.

A group led by Richard Murphy on the council has been looking at this issue and the possibility of moving offices for nearly 10 years, she said.

Wren went on to say that previously the incorporation had looked into holding a design competition and building a brand-new home but 'it had proved far too expensive'.

'This would have run into millions and the only asset we have is this building and it's only worth about £1 million,' she added.

While there is said to be widespread support for the idea of moving headquarters among many architects, it has been predicted that many of the more conservative members will object.

by Ed Dorrell

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