Bahamian named as new fellow of Royal Institute of British Architects

Bahamian named as new fellow of Royal Institute of British Architects
Associate Professor of Architecture at University of The Bahamas and Principal of Henry A Hepburn Associates Henry Hepburn

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Associate Professor of Architecture at University of The Bahamas (UB) and noted professional architect Henry Hepburn as a fellow for 2021.

Hepburn, who is also principal of Henry A Hepburn Associates, Architects-Urban Planners-Interior Designers, said he was “elated and honored to have been eligible to be elevated to the esteemed level of fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, for which I give thanks to the almighty [who] has done great things for me”.

“I am privileged to be affiliated with the architecture profession — which is one of the markers of culture, providing spaces and places of worship, work and play, as well as one of service, whose mantra is to promote good stewardship of mother earth — be that in terms of conservation, sustainability, safety and well-being,” Hepburn said.

“Having traveled extensively and studied in the United States, England, Israel and Nepal has allowed me to make the contributions that I have made to the profession and academia.”

UB in a statement heralded the achievement as “an accomplishment that recognizes the contributions of architects to their communities, the profession and those who seek to follow in their footsteps”.

“Both in and out of the classroom, Mr Hepburn has taught his students how to develop the competencies that are required to meaningfully impact urban planning and design and uplift community,” the university stated.

“He was pivotal in establishing the Architecture Endowment Fund at UB for scholarships for full-time, undergraduate students of architecture. He has also been intentional about his students actively participating in real-time projects for community development.”

It added, “A practicing architect, Mr Hepburn has also served as faculty at UB for many years, having led the Architecture Department and making vital contributions to the academic field.

“With the assistance of colleagues, he established the five-year Bachelor of Architecture programme at UB, which is comparable to international programmes. The Institute of Bahamian Architects (IBA) has also bestowed upon him two awards for Civic and Interior Architecture for the ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church’, Hamilton, Long Island. Mr Hepburn views the BA Architecture programme at UB as a conduit for excellence in the profession.”

Hepburn noted the BA programme “seeks to develop aspiring students”, and expressed his hope that his honor will “inspire young Bahamians, and others, to broaden and expand their horizon beyond The Bahamas, and continue to advance their knowledge…to give back and always strive for excellence”.

UB’s statement continued: “Five of [Hepburn’s] former architecture students have done just that, namely, Valaria Pintard-Flax, Marcus Laing, Dario McPhee, Kashela Major and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Beck Group Fred Perpall, who is the first Bahamian Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA).”

In making the announcement, RIBA noted that its fellow members are inspirational chartered members who have made real contributions to architecture and the community. Founded in 1834 for the advancement of architecture, the institute is the oldest professional architecture body in the world.

In order to become eligible for fellow membership, prospective candidates must have demonstrated that they led or played a proactive role in a project that has had a positive social or environmental impact at a local, regional, national or international level; contributed to the advancement or thought leadership of the profession through education, research or technology; and made a significant contribution to architecture through local, regional, national or international initiatives and activities, among others.

Hepburn, UB said, unequivocally satisfied all of the criteria.