RIAS Edinburgh news, Scottish architecture events, President Christina Gaiger, Secretary, Neil Baxter, Robin Webster

RIAS – Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

15 Rutland Square Edinburgh, Scotland – Scottish Architectural News

post updated 2 March 2024

RIAS Elects Youngest Ever Candidate as President

New RIAS President

30 June 2020

Christina Gaiger FRIAS has been elected the next President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). Christina will take over from Robin Webster OBE at the Incorporation’s AGM on 30th June 2020. Christina will serve as President for a two year term.

At 33, Christina will be the youngest President in the Incorporation’s history and only the second female President (Dr Joyce Deans CBE was elected President from 1991 to 1993).

Christina Gaiger, RIAS President:
Christina Gaiger RIAS President
photo © Angus Bremner

Following graduation, Christina has worked on a wide variety of projects, including universities, education facilities, museum design and domestic architecture, for design-led practices Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris and TsAO & McKOWN Architects in New York.

Christina returned to Edinburgh and joined Helen Lucas Architects Ltd at the end of 2014, being particularly interested in the practice’s work in architectural conservation. Christina is committed to the creative reuse of buildings and the construction of a supportive network for the profession, to give traction to the value of good design.

Speaking today Christina said:

“I am delighted and honoured to become the next President of the RIAS and lead the incorporation into a more engaging, relevant and forward-thinking future.

Those who know me, are aware that I am rarely lost for words. The support from the membership was overwhelming and the clear message for a bolder direction left me speechless and filled with hope. I wish to thank everyone who supported me and took the time to vote. I also wish to thank our outgoing President Robin Webster for laying the groundwork for reform, alongside Gordon Smith and Karen Pickering for an engaging campaign and election process.

 The hard work begins now. I look forward to building a supportive architectural network and to use our platform for stronger advocacy. To publicly stand up for architecture, architects, quality and diversity across Scotland.”

Christina’s original election statement can be found here.

RIAS’ current President, Robin Webster OBE said:

“I wish to congratulate Christina on her election and look forward to working with her on Council”

Presidential Candidate Karen Pickering said:

“Congratulations to Christina. I’m sure she will do a great job as president and I wish her all the best for the year ahead.”

Whilst Presidential Candidate Gordon G Smith added:

“I congratulate Christina on her election as President of the RIAS advising that it is easy to make grand statements and promises but much harder to deliver them, and reminding her that she now needs to bring the RIAS together, acting on behalf of ALL the Membership throughout the whole of Scotland and not just individual focus groups.”

Previously on Edinburgh Architecture:

6 Sep 2019

RIAS 5 Year Strategy

RIAS Proposes Fresh 5 Year Strategy

RIAS members met this evening for their AGM. The President and trustees updated the membership with news about the launch of the new 5 year strategy ‘RIAS Inspiring’ and our role as central to solutions in tackling the climate crisis.

RIAS Creating space for inspiring conversations

A refreshed RIAS has given us the opportunity to review our priorities and agendas, bringing the RIAS Convention ‘Climate of Opinion’ on 4th October in Edinburgh, together with the announcement of the Student Awards and Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award. The new Strategy will be launched at the RIAS Convention. This allows the RIAS to showcase some of the best architecture and emerging architectural talent that Scotland has to offer.

RIAS trustees were able to confirm that they have also given their support to further discussions with partners and stakeholders about the delivery of public development with concerns about procurement to achieve quality and resilience in Scotland’s built environment. This work will also ensure that our architects and members are at the forefront of discussions about sustainable futures for people in their Scottish urban and rural environments.

18 Jul 2016

RIAS Edinburgh Floral Clock News

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Edinburgh Floral Clock

Edinburgh’s Floral Clock Honours Scotland’s Architects

18th July 2016 – The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland is delighted to be the focus of the design of this year’s planting scheme for Edinburgh’s world-famous floral clock, in honour of the Incorporation’s Centenary.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the professional body for Scotland’s chartered architects, was founded in 1916.

RIAS Edinburgh Floral Clock 2016

The floral clock, which is positioned centre stage in Princes Street Gardens, was completed this week following extensive work by the Edinburgh Parks’ staff who have planted over 35,000 individual flowers and plants to create a superb display using elements from the RIAS’ crest. The clock first began in 1903 and has celebrated a different individual, organisation or anniversary every year since then.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, along with RIAS Secretary Neil Baxter, watched gardeners make the finishing touches on Friday (15 July). Lord Provost Wilson said: “This year the clock celebrates The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which has enjoyed a rich history.”

Neil Baxter, Secretary of RIAS, said: “For many Scots, Edinburgh’s floral clock is a very special childhood memory. Visits to the Capital were always sure to have the clock on the itinerary. This clock represents the very best of Scottish horticulture, just as the RIAS promotes excellence in our architecture. It is both thrilling and a tremendous honour that this year’s clock marks the RIAS’ centenary.”

31 Jan 2012

RIAS Appointment News

High Profile New Appointee to RIAS Senior Team

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland is delighted to announce that Dr Deborah Mays is to take up a senior role in the organisation. Dr Mays joins the Incorporation in late spring, moving from Historic Scotland where she was Director of Policy and Outreach.

Dr Deborah Mays undertook her Modern History and Art History degree at St Andrews University, going on to complete her doctoral thesis on the early 20th century Scottish architect, John Kinross. After joining Historic Scotland in 1986 she held a variety of senior posts, ranging from Area Inspector to Head of Listing and Deputy Chief Inspector.

With her extensive knowledge of Scottish architecture, Dr Mays has helped Scottish Ministers meet their responsibilities for protecting and promoting Scotland’s extraordinary buildings and places. She has also played a key role in implementing legislation and policy, the compilation and management of the statutory lists of historic buildings and the Inventories of Gardens and Designed Landscapes and Historic Battlefields.

Dr Mays has researched, published and lectured widely on Scottish architects and architecture. Her recent publications include papers on the development of historic building legislation and listing in Scotland and a jointly edited book on Scotland’s post-War architecture. She is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

RIAS Dr Deborah Mays Appointment

RIAS President, Sholto Humphries, commented:

“The RIAS is the lead organisation for Scotland’s architects and for promoting knowledge and understanding of the nation’s architecture. We are absolutely delighted that Dr Mays, who has devoted her whole career to Scotland’s architecture, is joining the Incorporation’s executive. There are few who can rival the breadth of Deborah Mays’ knowledge. Our senior management team, under Secretary, Neil Baxter, has already benefitted from the recent arrival of Malcolm Cooper, the former Chief Inspector of Historic Scotland. Deborah’s arrival will further strengthen the team and will greatly enhance the Incorporation’s ability to support and promote Scotland‘s architects and its architecture.”

Dr Mays added:
“I am thrilled to be joining the RIAS at an important time in its evolution. A strong architectural profession is crucial to ensuring the care of Scotland’s architectural heritage and that the quality of new development remains high. These are particularly testing times for the profession and the whole construction industry. Working together with its partners in Government, in Scotland’s local authorities, within commissioning organisations and with others in the public and private sectors, the Incorporation has a major role to play in improving the lives of all of Scotland’s people. I look forward to playing my part.”

8 Dec 2011

RIAS Construction Procurement Report

“A generation of Scottish talent is being squandered”
RIAS President, Sholto Humphries

RIAS Calls For Radical Overhaul of Construction Procurement in Scotland

On 8th December 2011 the RIAS’s President’s Commission on Procurement publishes its report. This review, over a year in the making, reveals that architectural procurement in Scotland is very costly, highly inefficient and damaging to Scotland’s economy. This is at a time when public projects are vitally important for local employment and to the micro-organisations and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which employ most of the workforce within the construction industry.

The report, by a committee chaired by Roy Martin QC, examines evidence commissioned by the European Parliament and the Westminster and Scottish Governments, alongside data from academic sources and commissioning bodies. It indicates that the UK has the second slowest construction procurement in Europe (the slowest is Greece) and that to commission a project worth £130k in architect’s fees can cost the public purse an additional £70k and bidders a further £240k in venture costs. This inefficiency has a direct impact upon construction employment in Scotland.

The Commission recommends that the Scottish Government issues new, brief guidelines to all commissioning bodies relating to projects which sit below the European threshold. It also seeks a radical revision to the lengthy and cumbersome pre-qualification questionnaire process which is a demonstrable drain on resources and does not achieve best value for the public purse. The report also recommends a short, sharp Government review involving industry organisations, towards amending procurement processes which are failing Scotland badly.

RIAS President, Sholto Humphries, commented: “The Commission’s report reveals that much that is being done with the best of intentions and in the interests of fairness is having exactly the opposite effect. Small practices, which make up most of the profession in Scotland, are virtually excluded from the vast majority of public projects. The resources required simply to submit a tender are forcing many capable, talented and experienced practitioners to look elsewhere (either to the private sector or outwith Scotland) for work. A generation of Scottish architectural talent is being squandered.

Tens of millions of pounds are being unnecessarily wasted by the public purse and by practices across the UK. It would be relatively simple to issue new guidance for projects below the European thresholds and to ensure proportionate tendering for projects above these levels. We urge the Government to radically review construction procurement as soon as possible. Otherwise many more small construction businesses will go to the wall.”

The RIAS President’s Commission believes that Scotland can become an exemplar for good commissioning of high quality buildings. It wants to work with Government to achieve this for the benefit of the economy and the people of Scotland.

1. The membership of the Commission is:
Roy Martin QC (Chair)
David Dunbar PPRIAS
Linda Fabiani MSP
Professor Malcolm Horner
Dame Barbara Kelly
Lord Maclennan of Rogart
Brian Stewart

RIAS Construction Procurement Report information received from RIAS

RIAS – Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland : Neil Baxter Appointment

RIAS – News 21 Dec 2007

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Baxter as its new Secretary. Neil is Principal of Neil Baxter Associates (NBA), a successful specialist architectural and interpretation consultancy with extensive experience in exhibitions, publications, architectural competitions and promotion. His involvement in the Dynamic Place Awards has helped maintain the profile of architecture and the environment in Scotland.

Prior to forming NBA, he was employed by the RIAS as Assistant Secretary with specific responsibility for promoting the services and capabilities of Scotland’s architects. Neil Baxter also served as a part-time tutor in architectural history at the Mackintosh School of Architecture. He is also well known as the author of several books on history and architecture.

Neil Baxter is a passionate advocate for Scottish architecture and a regular spokesman on architecture, art and the environment on television and radio. Commenting on the appointment, RIAS President Arnie Dunn said “We are delighted to welcome Neil Baxter to the Incorporation at this exciting time. His experience and knowledge of the architectural profession in Scotland is unique. We are confident that he will be a strong and innovative leader for our executive team and will be instrumental in promoting both architecture and Scottish architects to a much wider audience”.

On his appointment Neil Baxter commented “The Royal Incorporation is the only wholly autonomous body within Scotland representing the interests of the architectural profession and promoting the quality of our national architecture. It is a key voice in influencing attitudes and improving Scotland’s built environment. The Incorporation is a venerable institution with a rich history, it is also a pro-active, member-led body. I greatly look forward to working with the superb RIAS staff and membership”.

Neil Baxter will take up his appointment in April 2008 but in the meantime will be working with the RIAS Council to further the Incorporation’s goals.

RIAS Jobs Offer

RIAS – News Nov 2007
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the professional body for Chartered Architects in Scotland is seeking to recruit dynamic individuals to deliver a range of policy and support services.

SECRETARY : Salary £50-£55k
The Secretary will be responsible to the Council for implementing strategic policy of the Incorporation as well as developing the Organisation as the leading provider of support services to architects in Scotland. This will be a high profile role working with senior members to promote the profession and influence policy-makers. Knowledge of the architectural or built environment sector in Scotland would be beneficial and you will have experience of managing change and development through strong inter-personal skills.

The postholder will be responsible for delivering a range of projects to RIAS members, external stakeholders and the public, including architecture awards, events, production of communications and media relations. Candidates should have a strong background in events management and PR.

The postholder will be responsible for developing the Incorporation’s profile and policy in relation to the education of Architects in Scotland as well as leading the research links between education and practice. The post holder will be expected to contribute to the development of CPD for practitioners. Experience within architecture or architectural education would be beneficial.

MEMBERSHIP ASSISTANT (part time) : Salary circa £18k ( pro rata)
The postholder will support the department in particular dealing with member enquiries, processing of subscriptions and data management. Candidates should have excellent attention to detail and a strong customer service focus.

Please see the vacancies section of RIAS website for further details: www.rias.org.uk
Closing date for applications : 16 November 2007

To receive an information pack, please contact Maureen Goodfellow, Director of Administration, RIAS, 15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH1 2BE
email: [email protected]

RIAS News Aug 2007
Application by RIAS & BRE to Scottish Executive to establish a RIAS Certification of Design Scheme receives ministerial approval

RIAS Chief Executive Departure

RIAS News Jun 2007
With Mary Wrenn leaving the RIAS, Maureen Goodfellow, current Depute Chief Executive, will become Acting Chief Executive

RIAS Chief Exec departs – News Jun 2007
Mary Wrenn will leave her post as Chief Executive of the Incorporation in August after more than two years in the post

RIAS news re Chief Executive departure 25 Jun 2007

The RIAS announced last week that Mary Wrenn has resigned as Chief Executive of the Incorporation and will leave in August after more than two years in the post. Mary said she was pleased to have been a “catalyst for change” in the RIAS, taking the lead in creating a new corporate identity, developing a 5-year Strategic Plan and consolidating the RIAS’s financial position.

An Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and former Director of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, Mary commented:

“In my appointment the RIAS recognised the need to modernise both its internal procedures and its external profile. I am pleased to have played a key role in the first stages of this transformation. For personal reasons I feel that I cannot commit to the length of time required to steering the next phase of change for the RIAS, and it is for this reason that I have decided to hand on the baton at this stage.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those members and staff colleagues who have worked with me in facing the sometimes testing challenge of bringing about necessary change at the RIAS — and to say how much I have enjoyed getting to know better Scotland’s rich built heritage and creative contemporary architectural culture. The practice environment presents many challenges, ranging from the retention of Scottish talent and building an internationally recognised design profile, to the battles over procurement methods and the need to create truly sustainable communities.”

The incoming RIAS President, Arnie Dunn, of Edinburgh practice Campbell + Arnott, said: “We are sorry to be losing Mary. She has successfully led the Incorporation through a crucial phase in its development by setting the RIAS on the path to longer-term governance reform. She has re-introduced the competitions unit and taken the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award to new heights. Her dedication to developing the RIAS staff team has been particularly welcome.”

RIAS Festival Exhibition 2001

Mary Wrenn Replacement

Since Mary Wrenn’s arrival there has been a fast turnaround of staff, including the Director of Communications, John Pelan leaving and not replaced, departure of Brian Moore who oversaw RIAS Competitions and various Client-side issues, Chief Exec PA Lena Smith and Events Co-ordinator, Janice Collins and not replaced. Inevitably there will now follow discussion about who should and who might replace Mary Wrenn when she has left. Views welcome at info(at)edinburgharchitecture.co.uk

Edinburgh New Town

RIAS New Appointments

RIAS News 2006
New Director of Practice: Andrew Leslie, chartered architect with 25 years’ experience, former principal of Bamber Gray Architects, recently Head of Construction at C-MIST, based at Heriot-Watt University Research Park

Working with Mr Leslie on a part-time basis is Grant Gordon, a chartered architect with Gordon + Latimer, who is acting as project manager taking forward RIAS’s proposals to become an SBSA scheme provider for the Certification of Design of small domestic projects

Research Officer: Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari, PhD from Edinburgh College of Art, studied Architecture & Urbanism in Montevideo until 2001. Her role at RIAS incorporates collecting information on practice-based research, a project on healthy workplaces based on a seminar and publication, and the creation of a Knowledge Group bringing together the key organisations involved in architectural research.

Dedicated secretary to Presidents’ Policy Committee & Council: Samantha Toon, qualified as a chartered company secretary with several years’ experience in the financial sector, she will also be developing new projects within RIAS.

Director of Client Services: William Wood joined in June. As well as developing the RIAS Consultancy role, he has an expanded brief including the revival of the RIAS competitions unit. Following an initial training in architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, William has pursued most of his career in the armed forces, gaining an MBA along the way.
Oct 2006

RIAS : Rutland Square

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Hotel Missoni Edinburgh

New Town Harvey Nichols

RIAS Andrew Doolan Award

Comments / photos for the RIAS Architecture – Edinburgh Building News page welcome