Ruth Reed has become the first female President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the UK body for architecture and the architectural profession, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary.
Ruth is the 73rd RIBA President , a position previously held by Sir G. Gilbert Scott and Sir Basil Spence among others. She takes over the two-year elected presidency from Sunand Prasad, who becomes RIBA Immediate Past President.
Ruth has extensive experience in the practice and education of architecture. Currently Course Director and design tutor at the Birmingham School of Architecture, Ruth is also a partner of planning consultancy, Green Planning Solutions. Ruth's career has been expansive with terms spent designing for a national house builder, for a large commercial practice and for a housing association; the latter busy role combined with motherhood. In 1992, Ruth went on to set up her own predominantly self-build architecture practice in Wales and in 1997 she designed and constructed her own house.
Ruth has been involved in the teaching of architecture since 1993, and has served the profession most notably as President of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (2003-2005) and as RIBA Vice President of Membership (2005-2007). Ruth is credited with driving through a new regional network structure which has become a cohesive force for the devolved delivery of RIBA policy; and was responsible for the successful introduction of a new scheme of assessed professional and life-long learning.
Speaking on Monday, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:
"There is no doubt that the state of the architectural profession today is very different to that of two years ago; the economic recession has affected each and every practice and practictioner regardless of their size or geographic location. One of my key priorities as RIBA President is to ensure that the Institute continues to fully support and promote the profession, and work through this difficult time. I will be working with members across the country on sharing best practice, in order that we retain our world class profession and emerge stronger to meet the challenges of the new economic climate.
"In becoming the first female president of the RIBA, I am proud to be part of a change within the profession to recognise and encourage the skills and careers of women in the sector; I hope that by example I will encourage more women to remain in architecture. The profession as a whole needs to widen its membership to include architects from all social, racial and economic backgrounds to represent the diverse nature of our society."
Ruth's election manifesto was predicated on, among other issues, greater member engagement. In response to this promise, Ruth will be embarking on a programme of visits to the UK nations and regions, and has confirmed visits to the London, Yorkshire and West Midlands. Ruth intends to use these visits to engage with RIBA members and practices of all sizes – to fully understand their issues and hear their views on the state of the profession, and the RIBA. Ruth also aims to develop even closer links with schools of architecture and with student societies.