The professional body of British architects found itself in an almighty administrative mess this week over its proposed boycott of Israel.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) wants the Israel Association of United Architects expelled from the profession’s international umbrella group “until it acts to resist illegal projects and observes international law”.
But in an embarrassing rebuke, the International Union of Architects (UIA) said RIBA had not submitted any formal request that the Israeli body be expelled and that until it did, they would not consider it.
“We received a copy of the resolution from RIBA suggesting the ban of the Israel Association of United Architects but we’ve not yet received any formal request to remove them from our membership,” said a UIA spokesperson.
“Until we receive a formal request we can’t take a position on it.”
Confronted with the UIA’s position, RIBA press clerk Melanie Mayfield said: “The RIBA Council resolution presented formally to UIA is quite clear. We are awaiting a formal response from UIA. Nothing further to add.”
The admin mix-up comes the RIBA Council voted in March to back a motion proposed by Dublin-born Trustee Angela Brady.
The vote has split opinion, with many Jewish and Israeli architects arguing against what they see as an inappropriate political action, while others, including Israeli architect and professor at Goldsmiths University Eyal Weizman fully agreeing with the stance taken by RIBA.