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The Royal Institute of British Architects is considering limiting membership to practising architects at a time when the Design Business Association and the Chartered Society of Designers are both building their memberships to include more non-designers, educationalists and clients. Would the DBA and CSD be better served focusing on design and, if not, what kind of members should they admit?

‘To provide value to your membership you must have a clear vision of where the organisation is going and what its fundamental purpose is. There is a real danger, especially in a tough climate, that industry bodies lose focus as they chase revenue to survive rather than concentrate on delivering value. The RIBA should be applauded for sticking to the knitting.’

Jonathan Sands, Chairman, Elmwood

‘Professional bodies spend far too much time chasing their own tails. They have a narrowband view of the marketplace and are preoccupied with internal politics, strategy and esoteric activities. In the meantime, bewildered members find that the responsibility to open the design/architecture debate for an ever-discerning public has unfortunately been hijacked by enlightened television producers and magazine “lifestyle” journalists.’

Peter Higgins, Director, Land Design Studio

‘Professional bodies should remain to have and attract more limited membership – with/of a specific credibility. It may be more understandable to broaden the membership audience in the DBA, whose activity is more that of networking and developing design professionals in and for the business.’

Sniez Torbarina, Associate and head of interior architecture, Jestico & Whiles

‘I can understand why the DBA would want to include clients under its “effectiveness” banner, but why the CSD wants to include non-designers is completely beyond me.’

Michael Johnson, Creative director, Johnson Banks

‘I am strongly in favour of in-house designers and design managers being professionally represented, but the focus of membership should remain on graduates of accepted design disciplines. The professional bodies representing both architects and designers need all the credibility they can get, only in exceptional cases should a non-designer be accepted for membership.’

Douglas Cooper, Design consultant, John Lewis Partnership

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