Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh – Allan Murray Architects

© Keith Hunter

About RIAS

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) was founded in 1916 as the professional body for all chartered architects in Scotland and is the foremost Institute in the country dealing with architecture and the built environment.

The RIAS has charitable status and offers a wide range of services and products for architects, students of architecture, construction industry professionals and all those with an interest in the built environment and the design process.

This website provides details of all our services and products. If you require further information you can contact us by telephone, fax or email.

Our office in Edinburgh is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.


15 Rutland Square


+44 (0) 131 229 7545


+44 (0) 131 228 2188

Bath Street Collective Housing, Edinburgh - John Kinsley Architects

© John Reiach

History of the RIAS

The Institute of Architects of Scotland was founded in 1840 by architects pre-eminent in the neo-classical revival in Scotland - William Burn, David Rhind, Robert Reid, James Gillespie Graham, William Playfair and Thomas Hamilton. the aim of the Institute was “cordial co-operation and frequent correspondence”, leading to the establishment of a library, a museum, a drawings collection and a programme of occasional meetings.

That embryonic body survived barely two years. It was re-founded in December 1849 as the Architectural Institute of Scotland, with various classes of members in addition to architects - ironfounders, measurers and builders. It held regular meetings in Edinburgh, and by 1854, there was an equally vigorous group situated in Glasgow.

By 1858, the Glasgow Group had formed itself into the Glasgow Architectural Association and a junior body, composed specifically for articled pupils and students, was founded as the Edinburgh Architectural Association. The Institute collected architectural drawings and commissioned measured drawings of historic buildings, which it published in its Transactions. By 1873 the vigour of the two junior bodies in Glasgow and Edinburgh was such that the Architectural Institute was thought to be superfluous. Its functions were closed and its assets and drawings transferred to the EAA for safe-keeping.

Yet the concept of a national architectural body for Scotland lingered and was revived in 1897 and 1898, by which time three other architectural bodies - in Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness had been established. No further progress was made until 1916, when those Architectural Societies met for dinner given in honour of Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, on the receipt of his RIBA Gold Medal. The outcome of that dinner was a series of meetings leading to the establishment of the Institute of Scottish Architects, funded by a generous gift of £10,500 from Anderson himself. The first annual Convention was held in Edinburgh in 1918 with Sir Rowand Anderson, as founder, the first President.

Premises for the Incorporation were founded by the donation by Sir Rowand Anderson of one of his townhouses in Rutland Square. Sir John Burnet, Anderson's successor as President, inaugurated a collection of busts of celebrated Scottish architects and the series of portraits of Presidents. In 1922 a Royal Charter was granted to the body under the title of the Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. In 1929, during the Presidency of Sir Robert Lorimer, a further Charter granted the title of "The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland". In 1933 the sixth Chapter, the Stirling Society of Architects, was founded.


The membership of the RIAS numbers approximately 5,200, which includes Honorary Fellows, Fellows, Members, Students, Affiliates and Retired Members. Any architect who is registered with the Architects' Registration Board (ARB) and is living and working in Scotland can apply to be a Member of the RIAS.

Perth Theatre – Richard Murphy Architects

© Keith Hunter


The RIAS is an incorporation of its six Chapters around Scotland. Each Chapter has its own elected President.

Supporting the RIAS

The RIAS has a broad network of members, honorary members and friends who assist the Incorporation in delivering its objectives.

If you are not an architect but would like to join the Incorporation and help towards promoting the architecture of Scotland, please consider Affiliate membership and contact Membership Manager (0131 229 7545).

Legacy Giving

The RIAS fulfils its Charter objectives by a full and varied programme of work both in the fostering of the national architecture of Scotland and in the support of its members.

Income from donations and legacies is vital towards supplementing membership subscription income to assist the RIAS with specific charitable activities such as supporting student architects, community projects, publishing, exhibitions, awards and prizes.

It is easier to make donations or bequests to charitable organisations like the RIAS now that such gifts are exempt from Capital Transfer Tax (whether the donation is made during the lifetime of the donor or on his or her death). While a number of significant gifts have been received from RIAS members, those outwith the profession who wish to support the work of the Incorporation are also encouraged to consider the benefits of legacy giving.

If you would like further information or have any queries please contact or phone +44 (0) 131 229 7545.