The newly inaugurated president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Oki, addressed the challenges facing the institution and the architecture profession in his inaugural speech. He acknowledged the need for change and emphasized that it would be a collective effort, relying on the grassroots members who elected him. Oki expressed his desire for the profession to be seen as problem solvers, grounded in ethics, fairness, and inspiration for the next generation.
As an ambassador for RIBA tasked with effecting change, Oki stated that everyone in RIBA understands the need for change, and it is about delineating the work that needs to be done in the coming years. He highlighted the importance of addressing climate change, inclusivity, and innovation within the profession.
Oki also revealed his role models, including professional development coach Simon Sinek and the fictional character Leslie Knope from the TV show Parks and Recreation. He admires their positivity, drive, and ability to make things happen.
Regarding the profession’s response to the climate crisis, Oki mentioned the concept of material passports but clarified that there is currently no specific policy on it. He emphasized the importance of sustainability, retrofitting existing buildings, and engaging with policymakers on energy efficiency and embodied carbon.
Regarding the future of architecture, Oki believes that renovation must be elevated and championed, balancing the construction of new buildings with reinventing existing ones. He called for architectural education to evolve and align with the market’s needs for renovations, urging organizations like ARB to update mandatory competencies to address climate issues.
When questioned about why architects should join RIBA, Oki acknowledged that the institution may have seemed closed in the past but emphasized the critical juncture the profession currently faces and the opportunity for architects to come together and lead the change.
In conclusion, Oki’s presidency signifies a new era for RIBA, focused on effective change, climate action, inclusivity, and inspiring the next generation of architects.
Sources: No specific sources provided