Welcome appointment at RIBA

In a highly Top Secret process, the team at UKR is gearing up to appoint master-planners to design our new scheme. It is very Secret Squirrel as we are in a hugely collaborative partnership with the host local authority and we are, above all else, totally respectful of their timetable for residents’ consultation on their Local Plan in general, and our site in particular. But we need to get on and do the months of preparatory work involved, if we are to meet the local authority’s (and our own) ambitions for delivery, so we need to get the team in place.

I have to say I do find the appointment of architects a bit fraught altogether.  It is such a key relationship: master planner and client.  I have gone so far as to enlist the support of Paul Finch (and also Eric Sorensen) to assist the team.  And in all the years I worked for Stuart Lipton I watched him also struggle with the procurement of architectural services, even with his forensic knowledge of the entire field.  Altogether it would seem, by any objective analysis, that it ain’t easy.  We need to lean on institutional structures.  And the role of the Royal Institute of British Architects, in supporting clients such as UKR, is not to be underestimated.

It was with some relief that I learned that Ben Derbyshire has been elected the next president of the (RIBA).  Although I was pretty dismayed to learn that the turnout was still so low ( about 8% of the membership). This does not reflect well.  As you may have seen from my blog of 1 August, I took a special interest this year, as Ben is a friend, but I do think that the presidential posts of all our royal chartered institutes in the property profession should be taken very seriously every year.  Ben will take over the two-year presidential term from Jane Duncan on 1 September 2017.  And, as from tomorrow, 1 September 2016, he will officially become RIBA president-elect.

In response to the news of his triumph, Ben said “Once again we find ourselves in turbulent times. In winning this election I am conscious of a great sense of responsibility owed to architects everywhere, in all corners of the UK and overseas.  Jane Duncan has laid the foundations for change at the RIBA that I look forward to driving forward….. My primary goal is to champion architects so that they, our sister professions and clients, can advance architecture as the cornerstone of the well-designed and more sustainable built environment society desperately needs”.

The (rather brave) incumbent RIBA president Jane Duncan said “Congratulations to Ben Derbyshire on his successful election… During the next year of my presidency, I will be playing my part in implementing the RIBA’s new five-year strategy which distilled the collective views of our membership. I look forward to passing this important baton on to Ben Derbyshire and ensuring that our profession has a strong voice and all our members, wherever they are, have the skills and support they need to thrive.”  Hopefully, between Jane and Ben we will see a major force for modernisation and a more responsive architectural profession.

Penultimate word to the victorious Ben Derbyshire who says “All architects, wherever and however we practice, need a RIBA that works for us.”  But this is my blog and the last word goes to moi “All clients of architects, wherever and however we are seeking to build, need aRIBA that works for us”.  My (perhaps a little cheap) point being that the ultimate built form, rather than the architects, will form the lasting legacy.  But we are all in violent agreement really.  Congratulations to Ben. Fingers crossed for UKR in making the right appointment.

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