Fantastic news. The move was a very poor deal and this should provide a chance to apply a bit of imagination to the issue rather than simply take the cash short term and move to a location that does nothing to raise the profile of the profession.Former RIAS president Gordon Murray has branded the incorporation’s decision to kill off plans to move out of its headquarters in Rutland Square, Edinburgh, as a victory for ‘neo-conservatives’.
Last week the RIAS council decided against proposals to relocate from its current home, a Georgian townhouse, to Reiach and Hall’s award-winning Evolution House office development in West Point (pictured above).
The decision comes almost four years after a relocation working group began looking into the incorporation’s accommodation and accessibility needs – an investigation supported by the late Andy Doolan.
Now Murray, a key member of the group and an advocate of a possible move to Evolution House, has hit out at the councillors who pooh-poohed the proposals.
He said: ‘[The] recommendations’ failure to find majority support within Council members by a narrow margin resulting from block voting confirms that neo-conservatism is alive and well in the profession.
‘It is unlikely that this group will accept anything short of a restoration of Rutland Square as a renewed RIAS HQ.’
He added: ‘I don’t think the idea of moving headquarters is completely dead, just that we no longer have the window of opportunity to move into Evolution House. That has now gone.’
However, Edinburgh-based architect Benjamin Tindall believes the relocation plans were never going to win favour with the majority of members.
He said: ‘It was a crazy suggestion and the people who were proposing it should be considering their position.
‘There is a general consensus of everybody across the RIAS that it was financially crazy to give up this asset. It’s all to do with image.’
Tindall concluded: ‘A lot was made about the accessibility of Rutland Square, but the new proposal was even more inaccessible. You can’t even get close to the front door there.’