Tuesday22 August 2017

RIBA helps set up equivalent in Libya

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Cullinan Studio also advising new architects group

Senior officials from the RIBA were this week out in Tripoli helping to found Libya’s own version of the professional body.

As well as establishing the Libyan Institute of Architects (LIA), the small team from the RIBA and Cullinan Studio, which has previously worked in the north African country, met key figures in the government, architectural education and the construction industry.

Led by the RIBA’s head of international Marcus Deeley, the delegation included Peter Oborn and Richard Brindley, respectively the RIBA’s vice-president of international and executive director of professional services.

Phil Graham from Cullinan Studio was also on the trip, having lived in Libya for three months while working on large-scale projects before the Arab Spring. Cullinan’s local partner, architect Sami Jaouda of the Libyan Engineering Office, is one of the leading figures behind the move to set up the LIA.

Robin Nicholson

Robin Nicholson

Robin Nicholson, senior member of Cullinan, said: “There’s a natural tendency for people to rush out and say, ‘We can build you whatever you want’. But at this stage what they really need is backroom support.

“Our view is there needs to be better governance of the construction industry and planning in order to make sure the Libyans don’t get ripped off.

“So it’s more a discussion about providing the right kind of framework for people to be able to work effectively out there.”

The RIBA and UKTI were originally planning a £1,886-a-head trade mission to the country this month but the Foreign Office is believed to have discouraged this for security reasons.

Instead a smaller delegation was put together to focus on strengthening Libya’s civic institutions ahead of this year’s elections.

Deeley said: “Our Libyan mission is in support of the newly established Libyan Board of Architects and Libyan Institute of Architects with the intention of establishing long-term, institutional, educational and practice-to-practice partnerships that are the necessary foundations for a sustainable and community-focused future for Libya’s built environment.”

British architects who were working there before the revolution in 2011 are gradually returning to pre-existing projects. Others are eyeing up new work in a country where GDP is predicted to grow by nearly 14% by 2016. Construction output alone is tipped to rise from 4.4% to 6.1% by 2020.

A delegation from Libya visited the RIBA for initial discussions last year.



Readers' comments (2)

  • I wonder if the Libyans will be as protective of title as ARB is, and threaten to prosecute anyone who uses the title without going through an opaque and expensive process first, however experienced or capable they are?

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  • tesserae

    Any standards upheld should be an improvement on the previous. However, they do have the finest Roman ruins in the Med at Leptis Magna as a historical dimension.

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