Our history, Charter and Byelaws

 The RIBA was founded in 1834 for ‘…the general advancement of Civil Architecture, and for promoting and facilitating the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith…’. 
We do not receive any government funding but rely on our 40,000 members, sponsors and our charitable trading operations to make our work possible. 

Here are some of our key dates…

2014 Launch of London’s first architectural gallery at 66 Portland Place, free and open to the public.

2009 We celebrated our 175th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.

1996 RIBA Stirling Prize inaugurated (televised from 2000).

1984 150th anniversary of the RIBA with the ‘monstrous carbuncle’ speech by Prince Charles at the anniversary dinner.

1960s Development of the RIBA as a regional organisation. Eastern Region office in Cambridge was first to open in 1966.

1934 Moved to current purpose-built headquarters at 66 Portland Place in central London. Opened by King George V and Queen Mary.

1894 Publication of the first RIBA Journal.

1848 Royal Gold Medal instituted by Queen Victoria.

1837 Awarded Royal Charter. Much of our early work was concerned with formulating rules for fees, practice and conduct.

1834 Institute of British Architects founded.

The royal charter and byelaws

Charter

The Royal Institute of British Architects was granted its Royal Charter in 1837 by the Privy Council under King William IV. Supplemental Charters were granted in 1887, 1909 and 1925. These were subsequently revoked and replaced by a single Charter in 1971. Minor amendments have been made from time to time since then.

The purpose of the Royal Institute was set out in the original nineteenth century Charter and remains true to this day:

'… the general advancement of Civil Architecture, and for promoting and facilitating the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith…'

Byelaws

The Byelaws provide the RIBA's operational framework and are updated more frequently to keep up with the times.

Being a Royal Charter body, any revisions to the RIBA's Charter and Byelaws require the approval of the Privy Council.

Most Recent Charter and Byelaw amendments

On 26 November 2009, the Privy Council approved the latest amendments to the Byelaws which permitted the creation of a Board of Trustees and the election of an Associate Member to Council and a text correction. 

PDF Charter 1837 Supplemental Charter 1971 and Byelaws
File size: 233kB 

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