New presidents Speech 2022

Read new RSUA President Paul McAlister speech from the society’s annual general meeting on Friday 27 May below.

First of all, I would like to say it is an honour and a privilege to be taking on the role of president of the RSUA for the next two years.

I firstly want to pay tribute to Donal, the now-former president. Donal has served the RSUA with distinction, not in a flashy way but with behind the scenes diligence and hard work. He has kept the RSUA moving forward in difficult times and I think we should all show our appreciation.

The role of RSUA president is an honorary and voluntary one. A large part of the role is reacting and taking soundings on the appropriate actions to be pursued. Hopefully, the role allows for some personal influence on policy. The art of architecture is something that I hold dear and is the defining professional purpose of my life as it is for all of the architects in this room. Ciaran Fox as a result of his job also falls into this category. We have spent 20, 30, 40 years in this field and I’ve seen many changes over the years. Reflecting on this My mantra for the next two years is simple and has served me well in my own practice and personal life. That mantra is “always be improving”.

This goal is deliberately open as the actual matter or item to improve may change from day to day or year to year. This is what architects must do and the RSUA will facilitate this improvement. In recent years I have witnessed tremendous improvements in the structure of the RSUA offices. A simple barometer of this is the number of training events and activities that architects may now avail of. The previous presidents’ Martin Hare, Paul Crowe, Joan McCoy and Donal MacRandal have all contributed to making the RSUA, as a body, a more dynamic and confident organisation.

My job is to keep improving the services to members we offer and promote what we do as architects. How do we do this?

  1. Supporting architects through CPD,  advice and workshops so that we are all up to date.
  2. Promotion of architecture and architects as unique individuals who alone have the ability to envision and create wonderful buildings and places of larger scale.
  3. Promotion of the value of architect’s services. The RSUA must champion the importance of well resource projects. An emphasis on quality goes hand in hand with an adequate budget for the design team along with the allowance for a quality architectural finish.
  4. The profession needs to be rewarded for providing their service, be it design acumen technical proficiency or contract administration.
  5. Finally, architecture and design are a means of creating sustainable buildings and places. We must now take a lead and respond to the climate crisis. We must demonstrate how to avoid carbon waste through the design of our buildings. The RSUA must proactively embrace sustainable design and construction practices so that architects show an environmental awareness and responsibility that is informed and effective. The RIBA 2030 climate change targets are a benchmark for new buildings, and I am delighted that the new Greenmount and Loughry Campuses will be constructed to this standard.

The next two years may be challenging however let’s make the most of our opportunities as architects.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to you as president.

Pictured above: RSUA Director Ciarán Fox and new RSUA President Paul McAlister.