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Friday01 August 2014

Architects back new RIBA chief in 'cool' revolution

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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”.

 

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Readers' comments (62)

  • Ana Wintours

    Architectural education in crisis with the introduction of £9000 fees and Angela opens a coffee bar in Hoxton to appear "funky"?

    How about dealing with the elephant in the room first?

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  • Remember when Gordon Brown said that he liked the Arctic Monkeys? There's always something massively cringeworthy when 'leaders' of professions try to reach out younger generations through cultural referencing.

    How will the Hoxton 'funky' nights help younger practices in Newcastle/Leeds/Birmingham/Exeter or anywhere outside the 2 mile catchment area targeted?

    Blind leading the blind. Somehow doubt it will be as cocaine fuelled as Groucho or Soho House though.

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  • That sounds like my worst nightmare.

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  • Alisa Selezneva

    “It’s about the possibility of having a funky institute” god, how cringing... I'm glad I quit RIBA before it became "funky"...

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  • So how many younger members of the RIBA (or even the old codgers) live within social drinking distance of Hoxton, and then also have time (and indeed the money, under present circumstances) in the evenings, from their work, their families and their normal social life, to go to some Groucho-type venue.

    Under Communism in Poland, there used to be an architects' bar in Krakow, run by their Institute (SARP?) which was rather scruffy and student-union-like. It's gone now, having been replaced by a frock shop.

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  • zecks_marquise

    The last time i checked, Piers Gough is 65 not 25. Hoxton isn't trendy, it's full of townies. RIBA are never going to recruit young practices if they are going to throw them out anyway for using unpaid interns.

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  • How about a decent RIBA website with a proper forum, where members can all discuss the issues facing the profession, without slagging each other off in public on the pages of BD?

    That way, the debate will not be limited to the "Hoxton Set".

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  • London... i heard its the place to be

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  • Mike Duriez

    Is the Prince of Wales's own forward-looking, hyper-trendy Instutition in Hoxton? Is Brady a decade or two more out of touch than the Prince?

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  • Zecks if you need to use unpaid interns you should be running a business

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