Architecture doesn’t feature much in Design Week, served as it is by two weekly magazines. But there are some architects – and architectural institutions – that transcend disciplines, developing ideas that impact on the world of design.

One such is Indian-born Sunand Prasad, of London practice Penoyre & Prasad, who until last autumn was president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. On his watch, his mentor Edward Cullinan, in whose practice he and Gregory Penoyre first met, was awarded RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal for lifetime achievement.

Sustainability was a key theme during Prasad’s presidency and RIBA introduced a myriad of initiatives and guides to members to foster more Green thinking in architectural design. But he also proved a great ambassador for design, appearing in the media and addressing the profession on ventures like the 2009 Copenhagen Summit on climate change, which he saw as an opportunity for architects to talk to the public and clients, as well as among themselves.

Such is Prasad’s commitment to climate change as an issue on which architects should take a leading role that Ruth Reed, his successor as RIBA president, has tasked him with carrying forward the institute’s work in the field for 12 months.

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