Richard Rogers managing director vows to raise the profile of British architecture – along with the standards of the profession.
Richard Rogers Partnership managing director Marco Goldschmied has won the 1999 RIBA presidential race.

Goldschmied, who beat second-placed John Wright and third-placed Colin James, vowed this week to raise the profile of British architecture.

The new president said improving the government and the public’s understanding of the design process was at the top of his agenda.

“What has come across from my travels around the UK is this question of really putting architects’ skills, responsibilities and training on the social map,” he said.

“The media is full of programmes on builders, interior designers and decorators at the moment, but none on what architects do,” he added.

Goldschmied, who takes over from David Rock in early July, said the appointment of a new director of public affairs at the RIBA would be a crucial factor in raising the profile of the profession. Current director Chris Palmer leaves in two weeks’ time.

Goldschmied’s other priorities will be to make the RIBA Client Advisory Service more accessible to the public, and to campaign for a radical revision of the planning process – a pledge that received widespread support during his campaign.

Raising the standards of the profession will also be high on the new president’s agenda during his two-year term. He said he would start work with the Architects Registration Board to produce a more rigorous and consistent Part 3 examination. Goldschmied also plans to nurture the RIBA’s joint initiative with the Victoria & Albert Museum to establish a home for the institution’s collection of manuscripts and drawings.

He said he was prepared to devote whatever time it took to the RIBA presidency. “I suspect it is pretty full-time for starters,” he said.

Goldschmied won 3725 votes compared with Wright’s 3121. James was eliminated in the first round of voting. Turnout was low, with about 25% of eligible RIBA members voting, compared with the 1997 figure of 34%.

Goldschmied, 54, was born in Yorkshire but spent much of his childhood in Milan. He studied at the Architectural Association in London before completing an MSc in project management at Reading University.