Ben Derbyshire has been elected the next President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He will take over the two-year presidential term from Jane Duncan on 1 September 2017; from 1 September 2016 he will officially become RIBA President-Elect.
Speaking today Ben Derbyshire 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, when I take up the role of President. 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. All architects, wherever and however we practice, need an RIBA that works for us.
More than two years ago I was elected to RIBA Council on a ticket for change because, along with many other members, I felt increasingly dissatisfied by the way in which the Institute was representing my interests as an architect. I wanted more from the Institute relevant to the concerns of rank and file practicing architects.
I joined the Communications Committee, and participated in a ‘Strategy Working Group’ set up to devise a five year plan which was approved by Council last December as ‘Advancing Architecture, 2016-20’.
There is a brilliant opportunity, now that Jane Duncan has opened the door for change, to create a much more responsive, outward looking, collaborative organisation with a streamlined decision-making structure able to champion the great work, not just of standard-plan-of-work architecture, not just starchitects, but of research, multidisciplinary collaboration, public & charitable service, overseas development, community enterprise and all the myriad ways in which architects contribute to the better design and sustainability of the built environment.
There is nothing to fear, and much to savour in the exciting changes that lie ahead for the Institute. If we are to deliver on the ‘Advancing Architecture’ promise of a stronger voice, a stronger membership and a stronger organisation there will need to be new ways of doing more for less. The Institute can present an impressive edifice to promote what architects do by engaging, brokering and communicating with networks of architects; sharing resources with others to achieve better outcomes at less cost.
This is a task for more than one term, one President. Achieving it will require a team effort to shift the organisation and culture of the Institute, and contributing to that will be my primary objective. Amongst other things, by the end of my term, I’d like to have helped redefine the RIBA’s relationship with local societies, based on the successful Manchester Architects, to create a much more federal structure that promotes activities in the local markets where we practice. I also want to see more involvement by clients in post occupancy evaluation and much more widespread use of RIBA signboards in a #CreditForDesign campaign."