Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute's highest position. According to the Architects' Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.
Duncan, who had backing from five former Presidents of the RIBA (including Angela Brady, Ruth Reed, Sunand Prasad, Jack Pringle and George Ferugusson), was also widely approved by leading members in the profession and from within the institute itself. She studied and qualified at the Bartlett School of Architecture before founding Jane Duncan Architects in 1992, now based in Amersham.
Her manifesto centres around "restoring" pride in the title of Architect, driving up Architects' fees through campaigning for payment appropriate to their respective skills and experience, and improving diversity in the profession as a whole. The primary aims she has set out also include:
- To restore the influence, respect and reputation of the architect's role within the wider industry, empowering successful collaborative team work and enabling all sizes of practices to flourish.
- To widen access and increase support for members through the Institute, regions and branches, providing networks, guidance and tools for new or established practitioners, and for members who wish to work abroad.
- To improve enhanced and transparent communications between the Institute, members, other architecture centres here and internationally, construction professionals and policy makers.
- To facilitate and encourage international links, with emphasis on support for International chapters, to stimulate a global network allowing members to benefit from the growing work opportunities world wide.
- To drive up flexible education opportunities offering relevant, affordable, and accessible routes into and through the profession. This requires guidance to increase practice mentoring and forging links between practice and academia to support students.
- To power the RIBA to become the cultural home of architectural knowledge by sharing information and encouraging research, innovation and debate throughout the industry, and improving access to our collections and library.
Speaking to BDOnline, Duncan stated that "I am delighted to be elected and to have the mandate from RIBA members to undertake my election pledges on improving pride, fees and diversity within the architecture profession. Over the next year I will be working hard to support Stephen Hodder and visiting and talking to members and staff across the UK."