First challenger for Ben Derbyshire comes forward

A second candidate for RIBA president has thrown his hat into the ring.

Alan Jones is the first person to declare he will be running against Ben Derbyshire, the chairman of HTA Design who confirmed he was standing last month.

Belfast-based Jones is an architect and academic who was president of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects in 2012-2014. He sits on the RIBA Board and Council where his portfolio is education.

Jones spent 10 years working in London for Hopkins Architects and David Morley before returning to Northern Ireland in 1997 to set up his own practice.

He now divides his time between practice and teaching at Queen’s University Belfast where he has pioneered a programme called Success Through Architecture, connecting students with architects who have followed a non-traditional career path.

His nomination is backed by Patrick Lynch who said he was impressed by Jones’ pragmatic approach to education – which he said “chimes with the new economy” – as well as by his integrity.

“He’s got an eye on the future relevance of education to the profession and a desire to open up membership to architects who have left private practice and moved to clients or local authorities,” said Lynch.

“He’s not scared of looking the future in the face. He’s not hiding in academia or practice. He’s done it all – practitioner, teacher and now manager of education. I can’t think of any recent RIBA president who’s been involved at a high level in practice and academia,” said Lynch.

Jones declined to comment when approached by BD because campaigning is not allowed until after nominations have closed on May 25.

Derbyshire welcomed the news saying: “I welcome a democratic process in which a mandate might be derived by the winner.”

Yesterday the RIBA revised its guidance for potential candidates allowing anyone to stand.