Courtesy RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has elected Northern Irish architect Alan Jones as its 77th president. Jones, who is the director of his County Antrim–based eponymous firm in Northern Ireland, will officially take over the two-year term from the organization’s current president Ben Derbyshire on Sept. 1, 2019, but will begin collaborating with him as the president-elect starting next month.

Jones defeated rival candidates Ghana-born British architect Elsie Owusu—who has recently made headlines for publicly criticizing RIBA's chief executive Alan Vallance's salary—and architect Phil Allsopp, who has previously served as the president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin (previously Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture).

“I am honoured [sic] to become the next President of the RIBA and ... I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Ben Derbyshire and past presidents, people who I have huge respect for. I wish to build on their successes,” Jones said in a press release. “We must focus more on the pertinent issues that will increase the quality of service we provide and the added value we can bring. We must reduce our overheads and the loss of colleagues and expertise as they leave our profession because of the economics of our situation. Talent is universal and opportunity into and upward through our profession must be too.”

“Congratulations to Alan Jones on the vote of confidence he has received from our members—I look forward to supporting him in the role both as president elect and after I’ve passed on the baton next year,” Derbyshire said in the same release. “To be chosen as RIBA president is a tremendous honour [sic] and responsibility, representing the collective strength and talent of our 43,000 members and 300 staff in a leading role to advance the profession of architecture. The RIBA has an exciting future and I hope I can rely on Alan’s support during my second year in office as we continue to push the Institute’s ambitious programme [sic] forward.”

Established in 1835, the role of RIBA president is the highest elected architecture position in the U.K., according to the organization's website. The role has been previously held by British Gothic Revival architect and 1859 RIBA Royal Gold Medalist George Gilbert Scott (1873–1876); late American-born British architect and 1949 RIBA Royal Gold Medalist Howard Robertson (1952–1954); and British architect Owen Luder who has twice served as the RIBA president (1981–1983 and 1995–1997).

Recently, Stephen Hodder, Hon. AIA, who won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996, served as the RIBA president from 2013 to 2015. He was immediately succeeded by Jane Duncan (2015–2017), who is the director of Buckinghamshire, U.K.–based Jane Duncan Architects + Interiors, and the third woman to serve as a RIBA president.