The Architects Council of Europe (ACE) announces its priorities for 2005 as new President takes up office.

The Luxembourg architect Marie-Helene Lucas took up office as the President of the Architects Council of Europe on the 1st January 2005.  She has announced that her priorities for the year ahead will be tracking the ongoing impact on the architect and architectural practice, hence the impact on society, of the proposed legislation on the Internal Market, fostering the development of architectural policies across the EU and ensuring the smooth transition of the ACE to its new Statutes.  She has called on the ACE Member Organisations to rally behind these priorities, as the year will present some serious challenges for the profession and the association itself.

Marie-Helene Lucas is a practising architect, based in Luxembourg.  She is a Member of the Board of the Luxembourg Conseil de lOrdre des Architectes et des Ingenieurs Conseils and has been a Member of the Executive Board of the ACE since January 2004.  In a letter addressed to the Presidents of the Member Organisations and the delegates of the ACE, she has set out the issues that will be her priorities for the year ahead.

The first priority will be to uphold the conviction of the ACE and its Member Organisations of the importance of the central role of architecture as a contributor to the activities and development of our society and its environment.  In this respect the work that is being carried out in relation to the proposal for a framework directive on Services in the Internal Market and the Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications will command particular attention.  The challenge will be to ensure that architects can become more competitive - without selling out on the intellectual nature of the profession - whilst continuing to foster the sustainable development of the built environment, which underlies so much of our cultural and societal identity.  One important aspect here, as already emphasised by ACE in a policy book last year, is to guarantee that enhanced competitiveness is not to the detriment of the overall quality and sustainability of the living environment.

The second priority is linked to the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU and, in particular, to the decision of the Presidency to include a plenary event of the European Forum of Architectural Policies as part of the official programme of its activities.  It is scheduled to take place in Luxembourg on 27th and 28th June, at the same time as an informal session of the EU Council of Ministers of Culture will also be taking place in Luxembourg.  The ACE is an active participant in the Steering Committee of the Forum and it has been working to ensure that the Ministers will review the impact of the Council Resolution on Architectural Quality in the Urban and Rural Environments of February 2001.  The ACE firmly believes that the adoption of architectural policies in the context of urban, cultural and territorial policies can be a significant catalyst for the improvement of the quality of life of the citizens of the EU.

The third priority will be to ensure the efficient and effective management of the transition of the ACE from its present Statutes to those that will enter into force on the 1st January 2006.  These new Statutes have been adopted in order to take account of the enlargement of the EU (and hence the Membership of the ACE) and to ensure that the ACE respects best practice in the structuring and management of an international representative association.  It is noteworthy that the ACE strives to reflect, in its governance structures, the organisational model of the EU and its Institutions.  Therefore the adoption of the new Statutes will involve the reform of the working structures and procedures so as to better harness the voluntary resources that are so generously put at the disposal of the ACE by its Members. 

Founded in 1990, ACE has its headquarters in Brussels and has more than 40 representative architectural organisations from all of the EU Member States and Acceding States as Members.  It therefore represents more than 450,000 architects.

For further information see: www.ace-cae.org or contact Alain Sagne, Secretary General, E-mail: [email protected]

Brussels, 26/01/2005