Rob Joins the Young Architectural Professionals Forum Committee

Having completed his RIBA part 1 and 2 in London at South Bank University, Rob returned to the North East to complete his part 3 at Newcastle University. During the completion of his RIBA part 3, Rob became an active member of the RIBA North East and YAPF – The North East’s Young Architectural practitioners Forum, having recently become a committee member. Here Rob shares his experience so far as a committee member and his big plans for the future of the group….

What first made you want to get involved with YAPF?

I joined the RIBA YAPF Committee as a way to engage with peers from across the architectural profession following Graduation from University. The YAPF committee aims to represent a range of regional practices and is a fantastic way to contribute to discussions around current industry topics. Partaking in YAPF has also given me the opportunity to give something back to the profession by supporting the RIBA to develop regional events across the calendar year for practitioners, students and anyone with an interest in architecture and the built environment.

What responsibilities do you have as Communicative Representative include?

As a communicative representative, my primary responsibilities are to develop and deliver a selection of events throughout the year on interesting and engaging topics that are current within the industry. The organisation of these events involves inviting a guest speaker who delivers an interactive lecture on their area of expertise. Recent events have focused heavily on sustainability themes, with the last YAPF event featuring speaker James Traynor who gave a really interesting talk on sustainable retrofit.

Being a representative has also given me the responsibility and freedom to be creative with the events and we are encouraged to research and develop our own ideas. The RIBA North East team provide continuous support as we organise and manage our events.

How do see your role progressing?

I am keen to use the YAPF as a precedent for other practices in the region who may or may not already meet in similar groups, hopefully this would attract more industry publicity to the YAPF and grow the presence of the group on a national level.

What areas of the industry would you like to explore / events would you like to hold?

I have a keen interest in innovative and sustainable architecture which responds to the local context and reacts to the issues we are continuing to face during the climate emergency which was recently declared by the RIBA. Communicate events are a great way to discuss these topics moving forward.

Following previous experience and my understanding of the tall timber buildings concept which is starting to appear more in Scandinavia and beyond, I am looking to engage with other industry professionals from a selection of architects, engineers and manufacturers with experience of the concept to come together and present the concept to the region. As high rise architecture is becoming increasingly popular in the region, following the Hadrian’s tower development in Newcastle City Centre, I would be keen to further explore the theme of tall timber buildings across a range of communicate events and speakers.

How has the group helped contribute to your own professional development?

At GRADONARCHITECTURE we have our very own youth forum which allows younger members of the team the opportunity to take on other roles outside of our architectural duties. For example, I have taken an active role in the practices Fish & Chip Friday Design Reviews – these have been a great addition to the practice, allowing the team to share ideas about the design development of a project, or to enable a team member to lead a discussion on an area of interest.  

Similarly to the GRADON youth forum, the RIBA’s YAPF allows young professionals the opportunity to engage with architecture beyond their day to day jobs. They are able to utilise the skills techniques learnt in University both in practice and through participating in industry leading events which support and strengthen research within the built environment.

How has the YAPF Committee responded to the recent COVID-19 circumstances?

As I am sure you can appreciate the RIBA YAPF Committee has been closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and its implications. We take the safety of all those involved in RIBA activity extremely seriously.

Due to significant concern about the spread of the virus, we will not be planning any face to face events or meetings for the next couple of months until futher notice.

We are sure this will come as no great surprise, therefore we have initially postponed the YAPF Hardian’s Tower Tour –.The committee members are currently developing alternative ways to keep momentum going within YAPF Forum to ensure, throughout all of this, that we are supporting our members the best we can. Over the coming days and weeks, we are looking to establish further digital ways of doing things to enable this support.