Monday, 12 September 2011

RIBA Presidency - time to make it a job share?

To the RIBA last Friday, for an event to mark the handover from the first ever female RIBA President Ruth Reed to the second, Angela Brady.

Much talk, amongst those I spoke with, about the increasing demands of the job.  The two-year Presidency is unpaid, and the demands on the President's time have increased to the point where there are few who are in a position to be able to commit to it if they wanted to. One has to admire those who are prepared to take it on.

The leading figures in the profession - for example, to be objective, UK-based RIBA Gold medal winners from recent decades - have not (with some honourable exceptions) chosen to have much to do with their institute, and have generally not served as President - though most of them are in a position to do it if they chose to.  But who better to put forward the case for the importance of architecture and architects than the architects with the most admired track record of projects?

Perhaps the Presidency needs to be shared between a high-profile figurehead who can be wheeled out a few times a year when it really matters - the most outward facing part of the present role - and a second person who would chair the RIBA Council and undertake the many days of visits around the UK and abroad that are required of the President. 

Both roles would need political skills, and there are plenty of good architects who are not so adept at politics, but they are not mutually exclusive qualities.  Angela Brady talks good sense and can be expected to be a good President, but why would we not expect to see the names of the likes of Rogers, Hopkins or Chipperfield on the panels in the RIBA entrance hall?

1 comment:

  1. 'I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member'
    Perhaps these high-profile bodes don't feel the need for an Institute at all or that the one they have doesn't represent their view of this art.