A decision by the RIBA Council to cease the operation of the RIBA Trust has been met by outrage from the architecture community. The Trust was originally set up as an independent decision-making body, whose mission it was to ‘advance architecture through outreach to the public, government and the media’, and ‘to demonstrate the benefits of good architecture – for the economy, communities and individuals’ in the UK.
As of the 31st December 2010, the RIBA Trust Limited is to stop functioning independently, with the role of the Trust and RIBA Professional Services Limited being carried out through the RIBA committee structure. It is thought that the Trust will be retained for a limited period in case its fate is reconsidered.
Architect and designer Roger Zogolovitch is a former RIBA Trust trustee, and has released a statement in which he expresses his distaste at the decision made on 10th December. He explains: "The trust terms of reference under which the trustees have conducted their duties makes them custodians of the assets. It has been the independent direction of these assets that has proved to be so successful in the development of the cultural programme of exhibitions, lectures and events, some international.
“The Trust Board worked carefully within the confines of an agreed budget and devoted considerable effort and time to ensure that the programmes worked within these constraints...I would rather reflect on the independent governance and close relationship between the trustees and executive, which has generated a spirit of understanding and co-operation that enabled so many different initiatives to flourish, making public the cultural face of the RIBA.
"This would involve looking at the role that architecture plays in our society and making the case that people outside the profession need to understand the importance and value of design to 21st Century culture. Scrapping the Trust and turning it back to a ‘Collections Committee’ will destroy the ethic and the hard won success that staff and trustees have achieved.”
He concluded: "I am sure my fellow architect Trustees will share my embarrassment at this discourteous and unilateral action which has been promoted by the RIBA Board and sanctioned by the RIBA Council. "