Architects back new RIBA chief in 'cool' revolution
Brady speaks of plans to bring young architects on board through RIBA satellite in Hoxton
New RIBA president Angela Brady wants to give the 177-year-old institute a makeover including opening an outpost in east London’s trendy Hoxton Square which she hopes will rival West End members’ clubs such as the Groucho.
Speaking about her ambitions to get younger architects more involved with the institute, Brady said a satellite venue would allow younger architects to exhibit work “with music sessions in the evening”.
Brady, who said she has the backing of RIBA chief executive Harry Rich and chief financial officer Andy Munro for the plans, stressed the new venue would not replace the RIBA’s existing headquarters at 66 Portland Place in central London.
“It’s about the possibility of having a funky institute,” she said. “I’m really hoping this is something that’s going to happen. I want it to be a place where you’d really like to bring people.”
CZWG partner Piers Gough said: “The thing that is really lacking is promotion of young architects. You don’t get to lecture at the RIBA until you’re 35 or 40. Angela Brady should be engaging with 25-year-olds who’ve just left college. That’s what Hoxton is about.”
Brady and Rich have already hatched plans to run weekly RIBA Tuesday late-night sessions at Portland Place, where architects will be encouraged to bring clients or non-architect colleagues.
“I would welcome a few nights with international music,” said Brady. “We can celebrate all cultures with architecture, art and music.”
AHMM director Paul Monaghan said: “Certainly, in difficult times creating those sort of hubs where people can talk to each other and collaborate can be a good way of building up confidence and possibly generating more work.”
Chris Lee, principal of 2010 Young Architect of the Year Award winner Serie Architects, said: “I see no harm in that, but there are bigger issues to tackle.
“The whole culture of no trust in younger architects, for example — that’s a more substantial issue than appearing trendy.”
And Manchester-based architect Ian Simpson said that the money would be better spent on the existing RIBA headquarters, to make it more accessible “rather than creating what could become an elitist clique if we’re not careful”.