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RIAI London Forum Celebrates 30 Years at the Irish Embassy London

Published: Friday, January 25, 2019

On 24 January, the Irish Embassy in London hosted – in the presence of the Irish Ambassador, Adrian O’Neill – celebrations to mark 30 years of the RIAI London Forum.  RIAI President David Browne and CEO Kathryn Meghen attended the event together with close to 200 members from the Irish architectural community and wider Irish construction sector in London.

London Forum

Marking this important milestone, David Browne described the RIAI London Forum as providing a “continuous link between the profession in Ireland and the United Kingdom”. The RIAI President said:  “With so many Irish Graduates and Architects working in the United Kingdom the Forum has been a significant support as part of their network. The Forum has also enabled the RIAI to maintain a close contact with those working here. Irish Architects have always had a strong relationship with our UK colleagues, from those who work here, export services here or collaborate - the UK has always been our closet professional ally.”

From LR: John Hunt , Enterprise Ireland and RIAI CEO, Kathryn Meghen

Currently nearly 10% of the RIAI Members are based in the United Kingdom and 17% of RIAI members have UK qualifications. David Browne added: “The Forum has been a beacon for promoting the Irish Architecture in the UK – so many RIAI Members have delivered world class work here either through the practices they have established; practices that they are working in; or work that they have delivered from their practices in Ireland. There are so many, including O’Donnell +Tuomey, Niall McLaughlin, Brady Mallalieu, Scott Tallon Walker, A2 architects, Grafton Architects, and in housing, Reddy Architecture, OMP and my own practice.”

With regard to Brexit, David Browne said: “As we face the unknown challenges of a new economic relationship with the United Kingdom. The RIAI is working with the Architects Council of Europe and with our colleagues in RIBA and ARB to, in so far as is possible, maintain the mutual recognition of qualifications. The RIAI is working to ensure that Irish Government Agencies are aware of the potential impacts of Brexit on the architectural profession and wider construction economy. Currently 80% of RIAI practices that export services do so to the United Kingdom and we have many practices from across the UK working in Ireland – we want this exchange to continue.”

David Browne concluded: “The relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom – professionally, economically, culturally and socially is of great importance and one that the RIAI will work to maintain through our formal and informal channels.”  He particularly acknowledged the “excellent support over the years from the Embassy and Enterprise Ireland in assisting with the work of the RIAI London Forum”.

LR Niall Mc Laughlin, Angela Brady, Duncan Kelly and Tim Lucas

Angela Brady, who co-founded the RIAI London Forum, also spoke at the event and reported on some highlights: “Over the past 30 years we have actively showcased what Irish architects do, with a series of site visits and talks by Irish Architects and our annual boat trip in June. We went on to host the annual exhibition of the RIAI Awards, and our first exhibition was in one of David Chipperfield’s 9H Gallery in Marylebone. Venues we were hosted in include the Irish Club in Eaton Square for many years, the SAID school of architecture on Holloway Road, Ireland House in Mayfair with Enterprise Ireland, the New London Architecture Centre, our annual gathering at the RIBA, and the Irish Embassy. Last year we were also hosted here at the Embassy on St Brigid’s Day when Alison McKenna invited us to showcase 10 Irish women architects. With Brexit on the horizon we need to collaborate like never before. Our two islands will become closer and our RIAI London Forum will help the next generation of graduates stay in contact for opportunities whenever we can - it may be that the workload will all be in Ireland in the next few years!”

The event was sponsored by VMZinc.


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