What is the point of RIBA?

Eleanor Jolliffe

After recent controversies Eleanor Jolliffe takes a long, hard look at what the instititution really stands for

The RIBA is an organisation I joined on qualifying because it felt like the right thing to do. Whilst I was not 100% sure of the benefits I knew that RIBA stood for something good and was linked with a high standard of professionalism. That the ‘good’ was woolly in my own mind I put down to personal laziness and a disinclination to keep researching things after seemingly endless Part 3 coursework.

I know and respect several of the current and past members of the RIBA Council and every time I have ever spoken with a representative of the RIBA they have been unfailingly helpful, professional, enthusiastic and well intentioned although often frustrated by the slow-moving nature of the institute as a whole. That the whole thing felt like a bunch of middle aged men pontificating without action I put down to my unwillingness to attend events; and to the thought that coordinating architects is probably about as straightforward as herding cats. Someone I respect who is in a position to know these things had told me that the two buildings full of people on Portland Place were doing some important work but needed to significantly improve on their communication skills. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a reason to doubt that.

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