"Architects Can Create Change"
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
“Architects foresee, create and build – we can create change”, said Dublin-born architect Angela Brady in an inspiring address on the occasion of her inauguration as the 74th President of RIBA on 9 September. Brady is the first Irish woman President of RIBA and a long-standing member of RIAI Council. She has campaigned in Ireland and Britain for issues such as equality in architecture, public engagement in architecture, and more access for SMEs to the public procurement system. Her practice Brady Mallalieu Architects, which she runs with her husband Robin Mallalieu in London for the past 25 years, is renowned for its socially engaged architecture such as the innovative ‘Foyer’ project for Dublin City Council, which provides supervised independent living for teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the acclaimed Phoenix Heights social housing in London’s Isle of Dogs, winner of the 2010 RIAI Award for Best Overseas Project.
A large group of Irish colleagues and friends attended Angela Brady’s inauguration in London, including RIAI President Paul Keogh and President of the Architects Council in Europe (ACE), Selma Harrington, and Past-President of the Ontario Association of Architects, Gerrie Dunne. In her highly political and topical speech, Brady said that a poorly planned built environment combined with cuts in spending and the reconfiguration of funding strategies had its role to play in recent riots: “We have had civil unrest and disorder, which when mapped, tracks the evolution and location, to significant blocks of social housing, where this so called ‘feral society’ sought by the Prime Minister, may well be found. Brady added that the “third rate physical environment”, in which many of these youth live “needs urgent attention”. “Such poor conditions, lie at the very foundation and the future ‘health’ of our nation”, warned the RIBA President. In a both critical and uplifting speech, Brady said that architects and architecture have a key role to play and that society “urgently needs our skills and vision, as never before”. Going forward, this embodies an enormous regeneration and restructuring programme.
Setting out her agenda as RIBA President, Angela Brady committed to campaigning for an “open conversation to kick-start development and regeneration and to bring aboutreform of the procurement system, which is the bane of our professional lives”. Brady said she was determined to engage the public to “empower them to rebuild their communities and demand better design, as a basic human need”. Angela Brady’s inaugural speech is on http://www.bradymallalieu.com/president.html. Her new blog is on the RIBA website: http://www.ribablogs.com/?cat=273