RIBA elects its next president

Chris Williamson will take office as RIBA president in September

Chris Williamson, co-founder Weston Williamson + Partners, has been voted in as the RIBA’s next president. Williamson will succeed Mace architect Muyiwa Oki.

The 67-year-old beat off close competition from two other candidates: academic and environmentalist Duncan Baker-Brown and RIBA councillor Funmbi Adeagbo, who was eliminated in the first round of voting. Williamson will start his two-year term on 1 September 2025.

Speaking about the result, Williamson said: ‘Thank you to everyone that put their faith in me and voted. I was deeply moved by the encouragement I had from all corners of the profession, from my own architectural heroes to students, small practices, apprentices and academics.’

Williamson continued: ‘Thank you to Duncan and Funmbi for running such positive, engaged campaigns. I look forward to working with you both on Council. The hard work starts now, and there is much to be done. As promised, I will be an advocate for the great work that RIBA continues to do, while holding to account the many areas where it could serve our industry better.’

The Leicester School of Architecture graduate and former RIBA international vice president said he would work with other well-established bodies, such as the Commonwealth Association of Architects, to tackle global issues while working to prove the RIBA’s relevance to young architects.

In an interview run by Architects’ Journal Williamson said one of his challenges was to keep the RIBA relevant.

"At a time when interest in architecture and the environment is at an all-time high, I’m seriously concerned that the RIBA won’t survive another generation. You may think that sounds melodramatic but young architects don’t appreciate its relevance and don’t see the need to join – despite the great advantages of learning and collaboration, and the support it can offer practices large and small. It would be to the detriment of architects if the RIBA sleepwalked to oblivion. As a membership organisation, if you don’t have members, you don’t have an organisation. 

"It’s really hard to put your finger on why there is so much negativity around the RIBA. It’s not incompetence and it’s certainly not indifference. I have come to the conclusion that it’s an unintentional but endemic arrogance. There’s a feeling that this is a ‘national treasure’, but like the NHS or Post Office, you are a national treasure until you’re not. My aim to address this would be to change the culture to create a safe space for debate and a greater exchange of ideas – an authentic, respectful and collaborative culture."

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