InigoInigo Logo

Built to Last: Inigo’s founders become honorary fellows of the RIBA

Every year, the Royal Institute of British Architects awards honorary fellowships to non-architects making a significant contribution to the world of architecture. In 2023, Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill are among the cohort being celebrated for making their mark

Founded in 1834, the RIBA was set up for “the advancement of architecture”. And while the majority of its membership is made up by chartered practitioners, not everyone in its hallowed halls is an architect. The organisation recognises that diversity is always at the root of growth and evolution, which is why every year it welcomes honorary fellows into the esteemed fold, from engineers to educators, heritage specialists to conversationists. And, this year, Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill – founders of Inigo and The Modern House – join the ranks.

Simon Allford, RIBA president, says that those in this year’s intake – however broad their backgrounds – are united by a shared “dedication to bringing about positive change in architecture and the wider collective industry”. That positive change drives what we do at Inigo, says Albert. “As well as framing what’s wonderful about old buildings, we try to show – as architects are doing when conjuring novelty and delight from them – that historic architecture can be lived in in new ways.” It’s all part of the shifting landscape of architecture in light of the environmental crisis, he continues. At Inigo, “we try to bring out lessons from the past that are still relevant today, in the hope of amplifying the message that if something is well considered and well built, it can be enjoyed for centuries.”

Looking after our buildings is therefore vital – and central to that is the fundamental recognition that “old houses are a finite resource that cannot be replaced,” Matt explains. “For those of us fortunate enough to occupy them, we are temporary custodians with an obligation to nurture them for future generations.” To continue living in them requires a degree of agility and acceptance of their eccentricities, but the rewards are lasting. “As long ago as the first century BC, the Roman architect Vitruvius talked about ‘strength, utility and beauty’. To my mind, these attributes remain as relevant as ever.”

Matt and Albert are naturally thrilled at the RIBA announcement. “It’s incredibly humbling,” says Matt. “I remember a session in front of a whiteboard almost two decades ago, in which Albert and I set down some basic aims for our nascent business. Alongside the idea of making a modest living and pursuing our passion for the built environment, we scrawled the words: ‘Have a positive impact on the architecture industry’. For that pair of 20-something design obsessives working from their bedrooms, being recognised by the RIBA would have been the pinnacle of unimaginable achievement.”

Want to see more?

InigoInigo Logo

Like what you see?

From decorating tips and interior tricks to stories from today’s tastemakers, our newsletter is brimming with beautiful, useful things. Subscribe now.