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Ian Ritchie RA (b. 1947)

Ian Ritchie distils the interplay between words and images into poems and aphorisms influenced by subjects ranging from technology and physics to social concerns, history, landscape and neuroscience. He then translates these into exquisite and delicate forms as etchings. Language is their common currency, and there is a remarkable concordance between the elegant brushstrokes with which he depicts his architectural, sculptural and industrial design projects and their built reality, whether they are as richly simple as the Spire of Dublin, or as large-scale as the White City shopping complex in West London.

Ritchie graduated with distinction from the PCL, London (University of Westminster), and after working with Norman Foster (1972-76) spent two years in France designing and self-constructing Fluy House. He founded Chrysalis Architects (1979-81) with Alan Stanton and Mike Davies while simultaneously working at Arup’s Lightweight Structures Group (1978-81). In 1981 he created both Ian Ritchie Architects in London and co-founded the design engineering firm Rice Francis Ritchie (RFR) in Paris. Before he left RFR in 1990, the practice had been responsible for major projects in Paris including the Bioclimatic Facades at La Villette Cité des Sciences and the Louvre Pyramids and Sculpture Courts with I M Pei.

His architectural practice has realised many landmark projects throughout Europe and the UK including the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art Glass Towers in Madrid, the Leipzig Glass Hall, EdF Pylons, the Dublin Spire, RSC Courtyard Theatre and Bermondsey and Wood Lane tube stations for London Underground. His most recent projects are the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, Mercers Walk in Covent Garden, and the Royal Academy of Music’s Susie Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Recital Hall in London. It is one of the world’s leading innovative practices with a reputation for strategic thinking, environmental and ethical concerns, design quality and R&D with industry, and has won more than 70 awards, including the Iritecna Prize for Europe and the Commonwealth Association of Architects Award for the Advancement of Architecture, and has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize four times.

Ian Ritchie devotes much time to education. He has been visiting professor at Leeds University School of Civil Engineering and TU Vienna, and taught at Sheffield University, the Moscow School of Architecture and the Architectural Association. He was elected Professor of Architecture at the RA Schools (2004-12) and is currently Special Professor at Liverpool University (2009-).

He regularly chairs international juries, including the Stirling Prize and Les Jeunes Albums France. He helped found CABE in 1999 after serving as a Royal Fine Art Commissioner, was a member of Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 (2001-2011), sat on the European Construction Technology Platform (2005-2008), advised the President of Columbia University on its Manhattanville Project and the Director of the CUSP at New York University. He is currently a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company (2000-), and advisor to the Ove Arup Foundation (2000-), Backstage Trust (2012-) and Dean School of Architecture Design & Construction University of Greenwich (2011-). Ritchie continues to lecture internationally on architecture, art, urbanism, regeneration and values, light, structures, glass technology and innovation at universities across the world and major venues including the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Institution, Tate, ICA, Pompidou, Hayward Gallery, Kunst u. Austellungshalle Bundesrepublik Bonn, New York Architecture Centre and the European Commission.

In 2000 he was awarded a CBE, and became the sole foreign architect to receive the French Academie d’Architecture Grand Silver Medal for Innovation, joining a small illustrious group including Jean Prouvé, Felix Candela, Frei Otto, Buckminster Fuller and Peter Rice.


Royal Academician


Born: 1947 in Hove, Sussex, England, United Kingdom

Nationality: British

Elected RA: 10 December 1998

Professor of Architecture: 2004 - 2013

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Architecture

Works by Ian Ritchie in the RA Collection

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Works associated with Ian Ritchie in the RA Collection

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