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Ruth Reed Becomes First Female President of the Royal Institute of British Architects

LONDON.- Ruth Reed will tomorrow become the first female President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the UK body for architecture and the architectural profession, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary.

Ruth is the 73rd RIBA President , a position previously held by Sir G. Gilbert Scott and Sir Basil Spence among others. She takes over the two-year elected presidency from Sunand Prasad, who becomes RIBA Immediate Past President.

Ruth has extensive experience in the practice and education of architecture. Currently Course Director and design tutor at the Birmingham School of Architecture, Ruth is also a partner of planning consultancy, Green Planning Solutions. Ruth's career has been expansive with terms spent designing for a national house builder, for a large commercial practice and for a housing association; the latter busy role combined with motherhood. In 1992, Ruth went on to set up her own predominantly self-build architecture practice in Wales and in 1997 she designed and constructed her own house.

Ruth has been involved in the teaching of architecture since 1993, and has served the profession most notably as President of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (2003-2005) and as RIBA Vice President of Membership (2005-2007). Ruth is credited with driving through a new regional network structure which has become a cohesive force for the devolved delivery of RIBA policy; and was responsible for the successful introduction of a new scheme of assessed professional and life-long learning.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:

"There is no doubt that the state of the architectural profession today is very different to that of two years ago; the economic recession has affected each and every practice and practictioner regardless of their size or geographic location. One of my key priorities as RIBA President is to ensure that the Institute continues to fully support and promote the profession, and work through this difficult time. I will be working with members across the country on sharing best practice, in order that we retain our world class profession and emerge stronger to meet the challenges of the new economic climate.

"In becoming the first female president of the RIBA, I am proud to be part of a change within the profession to recognise and encourage the skills and careers of women in the sector; I hope that by example I will encourage more women to remain in architecture. The profession as a whole needs to widen its membership to include architects from all social, racial and economic backgrounds to represent the diverse nature of our society."

Ruth's election manifesto was predicated on, among other issues, greater member engagement. In response to this promise, Ruth will be embarking on programme of visits to the UK nations and regions, and has confirmed visits to the London, Yorkshire and West Midlands. Ruth intends to use these visits to engage with RIBA members and practices of all sizes – to fully understand their issues and hear their views on the state of the profession, and the RIBA. Ruth also aims to develop even closer links with schools of architecture and with student societies.

Ruth Reed, BA, DipArch, MA, RIBA
Brought up in Shrewsbury, Ruth Reed studied architecture at the University of Sheffield where she completed a Masters in Landscape. Her first appointment on completing Part II was with a national house builder on housing layout design. From 1984 she worked at Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson largely on Commercial Projects however an opportunity to design a house for the Partner's brother that went on to win a CPRE award confirmed her interest in housing design. Combining motherhood and architecture was greatly assisted by a move to part-time working with South Yorkshire Housing Association as a Senior Architect. Her work there consisted of general and special needs projects.

As a change of location and direction, she set up Reed Architects in Mid-Wales in 1992, where she rapidly won a reputation for successfully gaining planning consents, often in the face of restrictive rural planning controls. For a while between 2002 and 2004 she added gamekeeper to the architects' normal poacher role becoming a fee-paid planning inspector determining built environment appeals.

Much of the practice's work was in the self-build sector and Ruth joined and became a Director of Associated Self-Build Architects, a national network of architects in the sector promoting architecture through a variety of marketing techniques including stands at trade shows and magazine articles. In 1997 she designed and oversaw the construction of her own house using hardwood and softwood timber frames and breather-wall construction.

Her association with teaching started in 1993 with roles as a visiting tutor at the Welsh School for Year 2 and as a professional examiner again for the Welsh School of Architecture and also for Plymouth and Bath Universities. With her extensive experience and knowledge of professional practice in a variety of business types, in 2006 she took over as Course Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice at the Birmingham School of Architecture. Her first task on joining was to re-draft and re-validate the course and develop an MA extension. Recognising a need for formal recognition of practice management training she also wrote and had validated a suite of post-graduate courses in Architectural Practice Administration.

At the Birmingham School she has contributes to studio teaching in Year 2 on housing projects and has run School design modules. She teaches modules on Management Practice and Law in Part I and Part II and supervises the Year Out as well as directing the Part III course.

In 2007 she joined Green Planning Solutions as a part-time Partner providing architectural and landscape consultancy support for the practice's caseload of unusual and challenging planning cases. The Practice is developing innovative concepts of developments in sensitive rural areas and has already developed an enviable success record in winning planning appeals.

Her involvement in the structure of the profession stretches over fifteen years in a variety of roles, including between 2003 and 2005 as President of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales. An RIBA council member for five years from 2002 she was also Vice President of Membership between 2005 and 2007 which saw the start of the successful re-emergence of the regional network as a cohesive force for devolved delivery of RIBA policy. As Chair of RIBA Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-Sub-committee she drafted and oversaw the introduction of the CPD Core Curriculum.

Ruth now lives in Birmingham with her two daughters. Time permitting, she relaxes by walking, gardening and listening to music.

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