2016 was an unusual year. The RIAS’ centenary was celebrated in an unprecedented number of architecturally themed events. The public appetite for more involvement in our built environment was amply demonstrated in the extraordinary number of participants in the Festival of Architecture.
Yet, through all of the fuss and furore, the ‘daily grind’ of the professional institute, of course, continued. Governmental consultations were addressed, buildings were procured through the excellent RIAS Consultancy service, Practice Services delivered substantial, sound and supportive advice, the Convention celebrated internationalism and our Awards demonstrated just how good Scottish architecture can get. Believe me, incidentally, Scottish architecture is in remarkably good fettle and the endeavours of our members, irrespective of scale of practice or project, are among the best in Europe. Every RIBA Awards judge who visits Scotland endorses this.
The Incorporation, as this report demonstrates, is on a sound footing. Of course there is always more to do – and some things we could do better. However for an organisation that relies for its governance and so much of its endeavour on willing volunteers, the RIAS is demonstrably doing a very substantial, very worthwhile and on the whole a good job. We are influencing the legislative process, engaging with media and responding to the demand of our Charter to promote architecture – and architects!
Over recent years, quite rightly, the RIAS has focussed on the ‘P’ word. Procurement was unashamedly the central theme of my predecessor’s presidency. In taking over from Willie Watt PRIAS, he commented that progress on public procurement was painful and at times its pace ‘glacial’. My ironic, but sadly too true rejoinder was ‘sometimes not even that quick’. However we have to keep up this and other good fights. That, after all, is part of the RIAS’ job – and of course, trying to stay optimistic. There are some who would say that is something architects are too often guilty of – others, myself included, maintain a sense of realism but see a positive outlook as a virtue.
Please enjoy this Annual Report and if you want to comment or to contribute to the Incorporation’s work, please contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 229 7545.
Stuart Henderson PRIASPresident, RIAS