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About the RIAI

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About the RIAI

Founded in 1839, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. 

The RIAI engages with government, the professions, industry, clients and the public to promote quality in architecture; to deliver quality and sustainability in the built environment; to enrich our distinctive culture and heritage; to contribute to the competitiveness of our economy; and to improve quality of life for the people of Ireland, today and for generations to come. We also provide support services to Architects and Architectural Technologists.

The RIAI seeks to provide architects with the professional training, education and research support required to consolidate the role of the RIAI - and the architecture profession generally - as champions of exemplary practice in architecture and urbanism; and to provide high quality professional services, public education, outreach programmes, and consumer protection to clients, end-users and the public.

The Registration Body for Architects

As the official registration body under the Building Control Act 2007, the RIAI is committed to discharging its obligations to administer the Register of Architects in Ireland.  Although the RIAI carries out a statutory function as the Registration Body and Competent Authority for architects in Ireland, this is carried out on an entirely self-funding basis. The RIAI does not receive any Government Funding or State Aid for this statutory function. 

The RIAI is a company limited by guarantee without share capital, registered in Ireland. Company Registration Number: 003498. Company Registered Address: 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.  Company Charitable  Tax Exemption Number  CHY 5436. The Directors of the Company for 2018 are: David Browne, Clare White, Fionnuala May, Dermot Ryan, Donal Friel, J. David Power, Michael Murray, John O'Mahony, Derek Tynan.


RIAI activities are co-ordinated by a 35 Member Council, the Institutes governing body, elected by the Membership.
The Director, the RIAI’s chief Executive Officer, has a permanent staff which services the Institute's Council and Committees and also administers the requirement of the sections of the Building Control Act dealing with the registration of architects. 

The RIAI's main roles are:

1) Promoting 

In our public role, we run a number of special initiatives such as the RIAI Simon Open Door, which has raised over €500,000 to-date for the Simon Communities to combat the issue of homelessness in Ireland.  We also provide free advice at public events such as the Ideal Homes Show in the RDS.

Our annual RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are a showcase of the best of Irish architecture and are published widely through the media. Every year, the Irish public also votes – through our Public Choice Award – for their favourite building.

Our award-winning RIAI publications include Irish Architecture, the RIAI Annual Review and our bi-monthly magazine Architecture Ireland. This year, we are relaunching our consumer magazine house + design. All publications are available from the RIAI Bookshop, which stocks Ireland’s largest selection of Architecture and Design books.

Join our free Newsletter

RIAI Medals - Promoting Excellence in Architecture

The RIAI promotes excellence in architecture and awards medals for outstanding achievement. The RIAI Gold Medal is considered the premier award for architecture in Ireland. It is awarded for a building completed within a defined three year period, some years after completion so that the building can be evaluated in a mature state.

The best buildings built during a given three year period since 1932 can be viewed on the Irish Architecture Awards website. In addition to the Gold Medal, the RIAI also awards a Silver Medal for Housing and a Conservation and Restoration Medal. The inaugural Gandon Medal for lifetime achievement in Irish architecture was presented to Dr Ronald Tallon, a founding director of Scott Tallon Walker Architects in December 2010.

The RIAI publishes a number of Policies

Consumer Advice


RIAI and RIAI Regional Groups run a wide range of events including lectures aimed at promoting architecture. Go to the current events listing.

The Irish Architects Benevolent Society (IABS)

The Irish Architects Benevolent Society (IABS) is a registered charity formed in 1959 to provide assistance to those working in the architectural profession, and their families, who suffer hardship and financial distress as a result of crisis, illness or death.

The Society, its Trustees and Directors operate on a wholly voluntary basis.  The Trustees are Michael Collins, Derek Green, Brendan MacConville and Toal O’Muire.  The directors are Jim Coady (chairman), Robin Mandal (secretary), Orla Fitz.Gerald (treasurer), Margaret Brennan, Derek Dockrell, John Graby, Mary O’Reilly, Bryan O’Rourke, Carole Pollard, Fionnuala Rogerson and Brendan Sullivan.  The regional Directors are Tarla MacGabhann (North), David Power (Northwest), Alex White (South), Mary Duggan (Southeast), and Nuala Kernan (Southwest).

The Society provides financial support, currently in the sum of approximately €50,000.00 per annum, to individuals and families who find themselves in extremely difficult circumstances.

The IABS is an independent charity and receives no funding from the RIAI: it relies entirely on the generosity of the architectural profession for its income.  Accounts are audited annually and the Society is subject to the rules and regulations governing charitable organisations in Ireland.  (CHY No 5399)

Find out more information about IABS here.

You can contact the IABS in confidence by email at architectsbenevolentsociety@gmail.com .

2) Supporting

RIAI represents the views of architects and architectural technicians on architectural and built environment issues to the media, through liaison with Government, Government Departments, Local Authorities, State Agencies and other architectural/urban bodies, and EU and International organisations.

RIAI is represented on a wide range of industry bodies including:

EU Organisations

  • Architects Council of Europe
    • ACE Urban Issues
    • ACE SHW
    • ACE Professional Profile
    • ACE Qualifications Directive
  • ENACA – European Network of Architects’ Competent Authorities

International Organisations

Architectural and Urban Organisations

3) Regulating

Standards for Architects

RIAI Education Policy is informed by EU and International Standards , the RIAI Matrix of Knowledge, Skills and Competences, and the standards prescribed by the Building Control Act 2007, to ensure that the built environment is designed and directed by properly trained architects

Go to the Register of Architects

Consumer Protection and Services

The RIAI through a range of services and the provisions in the Building Control Act 2007 works to ensure consumer protection.

In order to fulfil this objective the RIAI:

  • Acts as the Registration Body for Architects in Ireland
  • Uses RIAI education policy and the RIAI Matrix of Knowledge, Skills and Competence when accrediting schools of architecture, for prescription by the Minister for the Environment.
  • Uses RIAI education policy and the Professional Practice Matrix of Knowledge, Skills and Competence in Professional Practice Examination to ensure candidates:
    • Fully understand the nature of Professional Architecture Practice
    • Have sufficient knowledge of Irish Law and Contract Procedures, and
    • Have enough practical experience of all the stages of a building project
    • Have experience and knowledge of the procedures and judgement required to run an architectural practice and provide a full range of architectural services.
  • Provides an independent Statutory CONSUMER/REGISTRATION Complaints Procedure with a majority of non-architects on the Professional Conduct Committee
  • Requires a stated level of Continuing Professional Development
  • Provides detailed information on the design and construction process for small and large scale projects.
  • Publishes a range of standard documentation providing a framework for construction.
  • Publishes a range of standard agreements for use between the Client and the Architect.
  • Provides advice and information on RIAI Standard Client/Architect Agreements
  • Publishes consumer guides including “Working With Your Architect”
  • Provides a nomination service to assist in the selection of REGISTERED architects and to help clients select architects in practices appropriate for their projects
  • Provides information on registered architects and practices accredited in conservation work
  • Provides information on architects accredited as Project Supervisors for the Design Process

EFAP and Converging Territories

The RIAI is responsible for the Irish delivery of the EU project EFAP Converging Territories. The project promotes architects’ mobility in Europe with a view to foster cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. In 2011, the Italian architect, urban designer and academic Dr Nicola Russi undertook a research residence at the RIAI. Dr Russi presented his findings ‘West Side Strategy’ in a lecture at the RIAI on 6 December 2011. Russi examined areas in Dublin that were less developed during the so-called Celtic Tiger years of economic boom. He then proposed a series if interventions on the ‘West Side’ of the city based on some of the city’s successful urban design components, such as Dublin’s low-rise character and lush Georgian squares.  www.convergingterritories.eu/home.