RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows UK’s Confidence Is Rising Exponentially

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for October showed that confidence is very high among UK architects, with the workload index up rising substantially to +37 from +29 in September - the second highest ever workload forecast balance figure. This positive figure was spread right across the country with the most optimistic reports coming from Scotland, with a workload index figures of +80, and Wales, which reported a figure of +28. In addition, the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed was down “considerably” to 12% – the lowest since the survey began in January 2009.

UK Government Confirms Protection of Title Will Continue

One of the more embarrassing examples of the ARB’s ‘mission creep’ which the review may address came in 2012, when they demanded that media organizations cease to refer to Renzo Piano, designer of the Shard, as an architect. Image © Eric Smerling

The UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has concluded that UK architecture should continue to be governed by “light-touch regulation based on protection of title,” following the first phase of a review into the future of the (ARB). Now, a second phase of the review promises to investigate options to deliver this regulation, determining whether or not it is best achieved by the ARB.

A statement released by the DCLG says that it will now work “with all parts of the profession to identify opportunities to simplify the role of the regulator,” with BD Online reporting that the available options including absorbing the role of the ARB into that of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), or to keep the ARB as an independent body – but with the DCLG warned that “it should not be assumed that an independent regulatory body would necessarily have the same form or role as the existing regulatory body.”

V&A and RIBA Present “Architects as Artists”

Designs for Truro Cathedral, 1878 Artist: William Burges. Image Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum,

Drawings have long been used as a method for architects to represent their projects. However, architects sometimes make drawings to communicate a sense of space in a deeper and more meaningful way – in a manner that begins to venture into the realm of art. A new exhibition opening at London‘s V&A Museum this Saturday entitled Architects as Artists examines the overlapping relationship between architecture and art, and documents the many ways in which it is used and created.

Winners Of The 2014 RIBA President’s Awards for Research Announced

Tom Bridgen: ‘The Protected Vista’ – Commendation – RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding PhD Thesis. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research, established to “promote and champion high-quality research and encourage its dissemination to the profession,” have announced the 2014 laureates. Spanning four categories – Master’s, PhD, University, and Practice-Located Research – the winning theses and projects highlight the need for research across the profession to nurture innovation and strategic thinking. Ruth Morrow, chair of the jury and Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, commented on the judging panel’s “disappointment” at the lack of entries submitted from outside London.

The disparity between the six London based schools and those in the rest of the (of which there are more than forty high-calibre institutions) continually makes itself manifest in RIBA student . In spite of this, half of the and commendations given this year are for students studying at schools outside the capital; the remaining half were awarded to students of The Bartlett (UCL). Morrow hopes that “next year, in the 10th anniversary year of the awards, that more universities and practices from across the nations and regions will submit entries.”

See this year’s winning and commended projects after the break.

RIBA Council Member Calls for Overhaul of Presidential Elections

Courtesy of the RIBA

Ben Derbyshire, managing partner at HTA Design and a newly-elected member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council, has called for a significant overhaul of the RIBA election process if the organization is to reverse ”a long term decline in the fortunes of the profession, the role of architects in commerce and society, the influence of design in the quality of environment and on long term sustainability.” Derbyshire, writing in his column for Building, argued that future RIBA presidents should only be drawn from the elected councillors if the RIBA is to avoid “the likelihood of successive Presidents failing to share agendas” – alongside five other proposals that he believes will strengthen the architectural profession. Read on after the break for more of his comments.

RIBA Launches Centenery Square Regeneration Competition for Birmingham

’s Centenary Square. Image Courtesy of Competitions

The Royal Institute of British Architects have announced an international design competition to regenerate Centenary Square, one of Birmingham‘s largest public spaces, and neighbor to Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, the Old Rep Theatre, and the the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo which was shortlisted for the 2014 Stirling Prize.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows UK’s Confidence Remains High

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for September showed that, for yet another month, confidence is high among UK architects, with the workload index up fractionally to +29 from +28 in August. Again, this positive figure was spread right across the country, with the most optimistic reports coming from Northern and the North of England, reporting workload index figures of +80 and +46 respectively – promising figures considering that these two areas were “slowest to show signs of recovery” after the recession, according to the RIBA.

Haworth Tompkins: Who Are The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Winners?

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. Image © Philip Vile

This year’s RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist was seen by many as the strongest in years. The practice who emerged victorious, beating off competition from internationally recognised practices including Zaha Hadid ArchitectsRenzo Piano Building WorkshopMecanooO’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley, was Haworth Tompkins: but who exactly are they? Ellis Woodman pinned his hopes on the successful Everyman Theatre before the award was announced, uncovering the practice’s rich history in designing performance spaces through a discussion with founding partner, Steve Tompkins. For Woodman, their theatre work “has left a legacy of spaces that count among the most beautiful and provocative created in Britain over the past twenty years.”

Critical Round-Up: Haworth Tompkins’ 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Win

© Philip Vile

In the great tradition of the RIBA Stirling Prize, the announcement of Haworth TompkinsEveryman Theatre as the winner of the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize took many by surprise. The Everyman surpassed the public’s favourite, Mecanoo‘s Library of Birmingham, and the bookies’ (and many critics’) favourite, O’Donnell + Tuomey‘s LSE Saw Swee Hock Student Centre - as well as two household names in Zaha Hadid‘s Aquatics Centre and Renzo Piano‘s Shard.

In what was seen by many as the strongest shortlist in years, the underdog Everyman has emerged victorious. But was it a worthy winner? Read on after the break to find out what the critics made of this unexpected result.

Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre Wins the 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize

2014 Stirling Prize winner: The Everyman Theatre / . Image © Philip Vile

Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre has won the RIBA Stirling Prize for 2014, beating competition from Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Mecanoo, O’Donnell + Tuomey and Feilden Clegg Bradley. The result was announced last night by President Stephen Hodder at an event held at the RIBA’s Headquarter’s in London, with Hodder saying that “Haworth Tompkins have struck the perfect balance between continuity and change” and calling the scheme “a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring, bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre.”

Who Should Win the Stirling Prize? The BBC Invites You to Cast Your Vote

The RIBA and the BBC have partnered to screen a series of interactive online films in the final week leading up to the announcement of the 18th RIBA Stirling Prize. As the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, given annually to “the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year,” the shortlist has garnered worldwide attention. Although the ultimate decision lies in the hands of a jury, headed by British architect Spencer de Grey, the BBC will host a public vote which is available as of today.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Confidence Remains Steady

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Survey for August showed that confidence among UK practices has remained stable at “a very positive” balance figure of +28. The positive outlook was shared by the whole country, with every region returning a balance figure of above +20 – a significant improvement for Wales and the West, who last month were at a more reserved +12. “Sentiment about future workload prospects for the architects’ profession has been strong throughout 2013 and 2014, and we are now beginning to see this reflected in increased levels in the aggregate value of work in progress,” said the RIBA, adding that the increasing workload is being “driven primarily by growth in the commercial and private housing sectors.”

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “The most optimistic forecasts this month were from our practices in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Midlands and , indicating that the high confidence levels have now spread right across the as all nations and regions begin to see an improving workload situation.” Figures from practices of all sizes were positive, with small practices (under 10 staff) returning a balance figure of +24. However, medium and large practices showed much more confidence, returning figures of +65 and +40 respectively.

Although a large part of the growth of the last year has been driven by housing, we may be about to see the sector reach a plateau, as the balance figure for the private housing market dropped to +23, down from +29 in July. This prediction now puts it level with the commercial sector, which rose from +20 in July.

The RIBA Staffing index also rose in August, rising to +13 from +10 in July. A full 96% of practices expect their staffing levels to either increase or stay consistent in the coming three months. But, adds the RIBA, “we are not yet seeing this confidence manifest itself in a significant increase in aggregate staffing levels across the profession.”

The monthly survey is designed to “monitor the employment and business trends affecting the architectural profession throughout the period of economic downturn,” the data from which is analyzed by both the RIBA and the Fees Bureau. It is a “representative sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations” with 1,600 British Architects from 226 firms contributing.

Read the June 2014 report in full here (PDF).

RIBA Awards 2015 Royal Gold Medal to O’Donnell + Tuomey

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has selected Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey as recipients of the 2015 Royal Gold Medal, one of the world’s most prestigious lifetime achievement for architecture. Approved personally by the Queen, the award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of architecture.

The praised the way O’Donnell + Tuomey came together in the early 1990s to combine ”Sheila’s quiet, studied ‘rationalism’ alongside John’s fluent, rhetorical ‘constructivism,’” commenting that “through their buildings, publications, exhibitions and teaching they have forged a confident new identity for Irish architecture.”

URBED’s Bold Proposal to Reinvigorate the Garden City Movement

Courtesy of URBED

British urban design consultancy URBED (Urbanism, Environment, Design) have been announced as the winners of the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize for their proposal to reenergise the Garden City (GC) movement, first conceived by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898. David Rudlin and ’s submission argues that forty cities in , including Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rugby, Reading and Stafford, could benefit from ‘GC status’. The award comes in the wake of polling conducted for the prize showing that 68% of the 6,166 Britons polled thought that garden cities would protect more countryside than the alternatives for delivering the housing we need.

Read about URBED’s submission, and the fictional town of Uxcester, after the break.

RIBA Selects Six Houses for 2014 Manser Medal Shortlist

Stormy Castle / Loyn & Co Architects. Image © Charles Hosea

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist for this year’s Manser Medal, the award given for Britain’s best new house. With a shortlist comprising a mixture of two London townhouses, a seaside getaway and three remote getaways in Scotland and Wales, the winner of this year’s Manser medal will be announced at the RIBA’s awards ceremony on October 16th.

RIBA President Steven Hodder said of the shortlisted schemes: “With each of the projects, the architects have added real value to the homeowner’s happiness and wellbeing. The originality, ingenuity and innovation on show in this shortlist should be an inspiration for anyone planning to build or make improvements to their own home. I encourage the UK’s volume house builders to look at the shortlisted schemes – we all deserve to live in homes that comfort and delight us.”

Read on after the break for all six shortlisted projects

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in Workload & Staffing Levels

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for July 2014 show that the Workload Index among  practices fell back to +28 (from +34 in June) with confidence levels among RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong in practices of all sizes across the whole of the .” Whereas last month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, London showed the greatest strength in July with a balance figure of +38. Practices located in Wales and the West were the most cautious about prospects for future workloads, returning a balance figure of just +12. The survey shows that actual workloads have been growing for four consecutive quarters and the overall value of work in progress last month was 10% higher than this time last year.

RIBA To Launch Retrospective of Edwin Smith’s Photography

To coincide with the opening of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s new Architecture Gallery at their headquarters in London’s Portland Place, the first major retrospective of Edwin Smith will open next month. Smith, one of Britain’s foremost 20th century photographers, was considered a master of capturing the essence of the places, landscapes and buildings he documented over an extensive career. The exhibition, entitled Ordinary Beauty, will display over a hundred carefully curated black and white images from a collection of over 60,000 negatives and 20,000 prints donated by Olive Cook, Smith’s widow and collaborator, to the RIBA Library.

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

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The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.