Muyiwa Oki Wins RIBA Presidential Election

An architect at construction consultancy Mace Group and the candidate specified as the representative of architectural workers and the profession’s grassroots, Muyiwa Oki just got elected as the next president of the RIBA.


Muyiwa who raced against Sumita Singha who was keen on the post two years ago, Allies and Morrison’s Jo Bacon is to succeed Simon Allford.


Muyiwa was elected at the second round of voting after Singha got dismissed with her votes redistributed by second preferences.


Muyiwa who had 49.3 votes while Bacon had 45.4 per cent is scheduled to start his two-year term on September 1, 2023.


31-year-old Muyiwa formerly worked at Grimshaw Architects, where he established and chaired the practice’s multi-ethnic group and allies network.


He ranked the youngest president RIBA ever had since the role’s establishment in 1835.


At the sound of his victory, Muyiwa said, “Most of all a special thanks to those members and nominators that responded to this movement, tuned in, and voted – especially those that did so for the first time. We can be proud of an election where people of colour, at different stages of their careers, of all identities, can be heard and seen bidding to represent the profession.”

“I hope this is the start of many great things to come for those who feel disenfranchised and under-represented. I am proud of my campaign, the discourse has been positive, energetic, and inspirational. It has been a privilege to run alongside Jo and Sumita and, as RIBA Council and Board members, I am looking forward to working with you both to deliver equity, transparency, and innovation in architecture. ” He furthered.


Muyiwa was nominated as a candidate for the office in May by an informal collective of early-career architects, students and architectural activists wanted to see to it that “empty slogans and self-serving initiatives” was abolished.


The incumbent president Allford, in his response to the news said “This is an exciting time for RIBA as we shape a leaner, more agile organisation to support our global membership and engage all those with an interest in architecture.”


Compared with the election that brought in Allford two years ago where he had 13.2 per cent, this year’s election had 12.4 per cent with a sum of 6,020 votes cast. Notably, in the first round, Muyiwa led with 40.7 per cent votes, followed  closely by Bacon’s 38.4 per cent while Singha had 20.7 per cent. She was later dismissed and had her then her second preferences redistributed.


When asked why he decided to run, he said,”I put myself forward for nomination at the urging of a few friends. I really do think our profession can change for the better.”


While addressing the question on how he would know if he had achieved success, the new president said he is single minded and focusing driving his engagement. According to him, “With my single-minded focus on driving engagement, success will be with the growth in engaged members. A much richer, much younger, much more diverse cohort of members. ”

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