Senior officials from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Cullinan Studio visited Tripoli this week to help establish the Libyan Institute of Architects (LIA).
BD Online reports that the delegation, led by the RIBA’s head of international Marcus Deeley, met key figures in the government, architectural education and the construction industry.
Phil Graham from Cullinan Studio was also on the trip, having lived in Libya for three months while working on large-scale projects before the Arab Spring. Cullinan’s local partner, architect Sami Jaouda of the Libyan Engineering Office, is one of the leading figures behind the move to set up the LIA.
Robin Nicholson, senior member of Cullinan, said:
"There’s a natural tendency for people to rush out and say, ‘We can build you whatever you want’. But at this stage what they really need is backroom support.
"Our view is there needs to be better governance of the construction industry and planning in order to make sure the Libyans don’t get ripped off.
"So it’s more a discussion about providing the right kind of framework for people to be able to work effectively out there."
Marcus Deeley of RIBA said:
"Our Libyan mission is in support of the newly established Libyan Board of Architects and Libyan Institute of Architects with the intention of establishing long-term, institutional, educational and practice-to-practice partnerships that are the necessary foundations for a sustainable and community-focused future for Libya’s built environment."
British architects who were working there before the revolution in 2011 are gradually returning to pre-existing projects, while others are eyeing up new work.
(Sources: BD Online, Cullinan)