The RIAS was founded in 1916 as the professional body for all chartered architects in Scotland and is the foremost architectural professional institute in the country dealing with architecture and the built environment. It's aspirations are to:
Organise and unite in fellowship the Architects of Scotland and to consolidate and co-ordinate the professional organisations for architects throughout Scotland (now the RIAS' six Chapters).
The Incorporation's first Royal Charter, published in 1922, expanded upon this aspiration and identified five goals. In summary, these were to:
- combine the efforts of (the architectural profession in Scotland) for the advancement of architecture,
- foster study and encourage the development of Scotland's architecture,
- support and protect the profession,
- publish and promote material of interest to architects and a wider public,
- exercise professional supervision over the members of the Incorporation.
The RIAS has charitable status and offers a wide range of services and products for architects, students of architecture, construction industry professionals and all those with an interest in the built environment and the design process.