Architectural Blatherations

Royal No More: the RAIA Rebrands Itself

top rule

The Good Oil

The Australian architects union formerly known as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) dropped the Royal warrant from its public face to present itself as the humble Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

RAIA becomes the AIA

In mid-2008 the artistes formerly known as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) adopted a new business name, the dazzlingly imaginative Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

After decades of ludicrous and futile pomposity, even the retarded Colonel Blimps who make up most of the membership of the RAIA decided that the Royal monicker did not appeal to those typical Aussies who frequent clubs such as Dr Garry's. Hoping to present a happy facade of egalitarianism, in June 2008 the RAIA bought new business names in each state: Australian Institute of Architects.

Some of our correspondents have reported this as a change of name from RAIA to AIA. Not so.

In Australia, you can't just call yourself the Royal BBQ Chicken Shop. Nup: you need a Royal warrant or charter to use the Royal. These are hard won titles, and the RAIA is no more likely to give this up than you are to put your legs through a combine harvester. On its website, the rebranded RAIA still parades the coat of arms bestowed upon it by grant. Deep in their hearts Australian architects regard themselves as Antipodean royalty: they just keep that to themselves these days.

While Australian Institute of Architects is the name the RAIA likes to be known by, it is just a business name, and one owned by the public company Royal Australian Institute of Architects (ACN 000 023 012). According to the company legal records we have found, the business of the AIA is specialist book sales, educational courses, building inspection services and insurance brokers. A rather more modest mission than the one they have on their website, which is to unite architects to advance architecture.