‘I don’t seek permission, I ask for forgiveness’ – Muyiwa Oki on his plans for his RIBA presidency

Muyiwa Oki 2023 1

Source: Tom Campbell

RIBA’s first black president - and its youngest - did not tell his bosses at Mace that he was running for the role. He wants to do things his own way.

The first thing that Building’s sister publication BD notices when shown into the room at the RIBA to interview the institute’s new president is the strong smell of stale smoke. It is a suitably grand room, with wood-panelled walls, a lofty ceiling and one huge window overlooking the luxuriously wide street of Portland Place.

The smell is not the result of a past fire, BD’s reporter is assured, but the remnants of countless cigarettes smoked in the room before such indoor practices were made illegal. That was in 2007. There must have been a lot of cigarettes.

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