Lipton, who was named chairman of the new Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment by culture secretary Chris Smith on Tuesday, said: "It is going to be about all of us – architects, clients, planning consultants and agents being convinced that good work should be the norm."
He added: "We have some wonderful talent and some skilled craftsmen in this country. We have to persuade government it can be part of the process of ensuring that new buildings are cost effective, fun to occupy, interesting and have a social function."
Lipton is to work one day a week unpaid in the post, which was advertised as a two-day-a-week job with a £30 000 salary. He will begin at the end of July, when the Royal Fine Art Commission is wound up.
Lipton played down a conflict of interest between his position as a re-emerging major client and his new role, which will incorporate the RFAC's strategic design review work.
It is about all of us being convinced that good work should be the norm
He said: "The chances of me being involved in strategic projects are minimal. It is a question of what one considers strategic. That is one of the things I will want to discuss with the steering group for the CABE. "I don't think this task is about reviewing hundreds of projects. It is about reviewing the big picture of building, architecture, design and the spaces between buildings. It is about convincing everyone that love and care cost little extra."
Lipton, who will chair the commission for three years, said he planned to devote most of its £1.3m budget, which will rise to £1.5m by 2002, to personnel. "We will find a new location in an interesting building with fewer overheads than [RFAC headquarters] St James's Square," he said.
Smith said of Lipton's appointment: "Stuart is ideally placed to get the commission's work off to a flying start. His knowledge, enthusiasm and experience will make for a firm and imaginative leadership."
RIBA president David Rock said: "I am pleased that the government has decided to appoint someone with such a high status in both the design and construction industries. As a first-rate client, he is already a champion of good architecture, and as such, he will be listened to by government.