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US architect and activist joins race to become RIBA president

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Arizona-based architect, academic and sustainability champion Phil Allsopp has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next RIBA president

The current head of the RIBA’s USA chapter and former chief executive of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation joins Elsie Owusu and Alan Jones who have both submitted nominations in the race to succeed current president Ben Derbyshire when he steps down in September 2019.

Allsopp grew up in Brighton and studied architecture at Kingston University and environmental physics at the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology during the 1970s before working for the Oxford regional health authority as a senior research architect.

In the early 1980s, he headed to New York, spent two years as a public health service fellow in Washington DC and had stints at Perkins + Will and American global management consulting firm AT Kearney. 

In recent years he has become known as a writer, speaker and activist involved in ‘improving the resilience and sustainability of our habitats, communities and commerce’.

Allsopp told the AJ that, if elected, he would move back to the UK while keeping his house in Scottsdale, Arizona. He said: ‘If I am announced as a candidate, I plan to be in the UK for the hustings period in June, except for having to be in New York for the AIA convention where I am speaking on a panel discussing ethics and the new urban agenda.’

He said he decided to stand on two key issues: to reverse the sidelining of the profession and to reshape the RIBA.

‘’For me, the sidelining of the profession isn’t about poor compensation levels – critical to us although these are – it’s about sidelining’s effect on diminishing the significant value to society that our profession is well capable of delivering,’ he said.

‘Our profession can no longer be bystanders to the consequences of our reduced role in society; a role that bears no relationship at all to the scope of services and sustained value we are able to deliver.’

He added that he wanted the RIBA to become ‘become more responsive to its members and to the profession at large’ and to ‘conduct itself as an inclusive, opportunity-rich institution where everybody regardless of age, ethnicity, geographic location or heritage is afforded the prospect to advance the profession and themselves.’

Candidates have to be nominated by at least 60 chartered RIBA members. These nominations are now being checked, and the three candidates will know whether their nominations have been successfully validated early next week.

3107303 presidentsracecollage2018

3107303 presidentsracecollage2018

Elsie Owusu and Alan Jones


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