Chris Williamson to stand for RIBA president

The 67-year-old architect announced his intention to stand in the forthcoming election – and take over from incumbent president Muyiwa Oki when his term ends in 2025 – in a comment piece published exclusively by the AJ today.

In his article, which addresses criticisms made by David Green yesterday (29 January) about the institute being ‘in disarray’, Williamson said he had been thinking about running for the role ‘for a while’.

Known as a transport and urban planning expert, Williamson spent five years working for before forming

In 2021 he wrote in the AJ that both architects – and the RIBA – should have done more to allay fears and resolve the confusion over cladding on tall buildings in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

He wrote: ‘There is a commonly held view among many of my colleagues that the RIBA has handled this badly. [The] RIBA seems to be stepping back from the problem.’

In his comment piece he also explained how he had put forward a proposal – which ‘did not find favour’ – calling for RIBA members to complete a mandatory 50 hours of designated online CPD modules to renew their subscription to the institute.

Williamson has now said he wants to help create a ‘more outward-facing RIBA’, which would help architects to ‘show our value and help drive up income’.

He writes: ‘I intend to put myself forward as a candidate in this year’s RIBA Presidential election, something I have been considering for a while.

‘My whole career has been based on collaboration and sharing knowledge, and I see a useful purpose for this in helping RIBA evolve.’

Williamson called for architects to engage with the voting process in this ‘year of elections’. The turnout for the last election, which saw Oki win the presidential race election ahead of Allies and Morrison partner Jo Bacon and author and academic Sumita Singha, was just 12.4 per cent.

He writes: ‘Whoever you support when it comes to RIBA’s nominations, please vote – we need to show politicians and the world that we are an engaged, energetic representative body.

‘We are a profession of diverse interests and experiences; but every architect I know is passionate about what they do. If the RIBA can harness that enthusiasm, we will be able to prove our worth and really make a difference.’

Nominations for the role officially open on 1 May 2024 and close two weeks later. The candidates will be announced on 21 May.

Voting is set to open on 17 June.

Source:Benedict Luxmoore

Barking Riverside Station by Weston Williamson + Partners