IDA 2022 IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS
Annette Fisher | International Design Awards Jury

ANNETTE FISHER
Partner FA Global

Chair Let’s Build

Commonwealth Association of Architects alternate Regional VP Europe and Trustee

Former RIBA Vice president 2001/2001

Former Nominated RIBA Presidential candidate 2002

I’m delighted to be invited to join the jury for the IDA International Design Awards 2020. I’m an award winning black British female Architect of Nigerian descent.

After graduating in architecture studies from Strathclyde University, I worked at several London practices for six years, with a short spell in Nigeria and three years in the US before returning to UK to set up in practice with a former partner of Rolfe Judd. I then set up my own practice Fisher Associates Ltd in Chelsea doing Leisure/ Community buildings Commercial offices, residential and mixed-use developments. It has evolved and is now FA Global operating in Lagos and London.

I have been involved with the RIBA for some time. I was elected to the RIBA Council 1999 and was RIBA Vice President Communications for two years. I was also a nominated RIBA Presidential candidate in 2002 and was re-elected as a National councillor several times and stayed on Council for 9 years in total.

In 2013 I was asked to represent the RIBA at the Commonwealth Association of Architects general assembly in Bangladesh. I was tasked to mend relations between the RIBA as the largest member country with other member countries of CAA and was offered the role of CAA Trustee and Alternate Regional Vice President Europe. I attended the conference and met other member representatives and was able to bond with the group and re-establish the RIBA as a firm friend and supporter. There was no further call for UK to exit the group. This resulted in the CAA accepting RIBA’s offer to host the CAA 50th Anniversary celebrations at 66 Portland Place in 2015. I am still a trustee of the organisation.

I was invited to join the Kush Board which was a subsidiary of Places for People. In my 2nd year as a board member the Group wanted to disband this black social housing group in streamlining the organisation. I took over as Chairman of Kush to lead the negotiations at board level and secure the future legacy of Kush as the only BAME organisation in the group. The successful conclusion of those negotiations led to the formation of a Diversity group at Group Board level where I was a founding non-executive Director. We also preserved the Nile Centre (over 21 years of treating mental health in black men) one of the key success stories of Kush. So that PFP would create preferred homes for all communities by becoming aware of cultural differences. These key decisions have transformed PFP ownership and as a business.

I’m founder and Chair of Let’s Build a televised debate celebrating black and minority architects and their work. To make this unseen group visible and provide role models for the younger generation of black and ethnic architects. To offer an alternative platform for discussions on diversity and make it possible for inclusion of black and ethnic people in these high-level discussions. Sponsored by RIBA, PFP and Yanga TV www.lets-build.it.

I’ve been a judge at the prestigious Civic Trust Awards, and more recently a Judge at the Malta Architecture and Spatial Planning Awards 2020 (MASP) in Valletta, Malta. FA Global’s ethos is “transforming lives through architecture”. We focus on projects that make a social impact on communities and the built environment. Currently working to deliver 500,000 low cost homes over 5 years as sustainable villages in Nigeria. Visit www.fa-global.co.uk for more information.

What did you most enjoy about the IDA judging process?

How international and wide the array of projects and professional architects are.

What did you think about the quality of the entries in the IDA?

A high standard and quality of projects: would be great if we can get entrants to provide more consistency of photographs that provide greater clarity of design and concept at a glance?

How much influence does your own personal taste influence your decisions in judging a design award?

We all respond to projects that are sympathetic to our own views on good design, however, sustainability and social consciousness in this post covid world are prime concerns in judging the value of solutions to a community or a city.

What advice would you give to future entrants?

I’ve noticed that some projects would benefit from better photographs that can simply explain their projects directly- with so many entries as judges we must make quick decisions. Good lighting is key to ensure that its easy to understand the photographs.

What did you learn from this experience, and is there anything that you learned that you will take back to your respective business?

That we as architects have a major part to play in combating climate change by the way in which we tackle design solutions to urban and infrastructural challenges to meet both client objectives and social change.