Greek Australian architect Elena K. Tsolakis has been re-elected to the governing body of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the UK body for architecture and the architectural profession. Tsolakis will be taking her seat on Council from the 1 September as a chartered architect elected for a three year term.
Born in Melbourne she is the daughter of local architect Kyriakos Tsolakis from Cyprus and Angela Raftopoulos from Ithaka. She is the granddaughter of Kassiani and poet Stathi Raftopoulos. Tsolakis moved with her parents to Cyprus in 1993.
Tsolakis completed her studies at Melbourne University in Australia and in the UK at Westminster University and Kingston University. She currently works between the UK and Cyprus where she is a partner of Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects, a family architectural practice based in Nicosia. Her brother Nicodemos is also an architect and their sister Cassandra is completing her post-graduate studies in architecture at University College London. The practices current projects include the first purpose-built women’s shelter in Cyprus, zero energy residential projects, luxury homes, a war memorial and museum.
She received the British Institution Award from the Royal Academy in 2009 and she has collaborated with artist Alana Jelinek on the images presented at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2006. She has been a RIBA panel member for the validation of courses in architecture and a member of the committee Architects for Change, RIBA’s forum on equality and diversity.
RIBA’s 40,000 global members elected five new national representatives for council from their membership. Tsolakis’ nomination was supported by notable international architects including John Assael, the current president of RIBA Angela Brady as well as president-elect Stephen Hodder. Tsolakis had been elected as the only graduate member from 2009-2011.
“I am very pleased and humbled by the support I received by the institute’s membership for my election to RIBA Council. I believe I am the youngest chartered member and one of the few women so it is an honour and a responsibility I take seriously,” Tsolakis said of her election.
The RIBA founded in 1834, was granted its Royal Charter in 1837 by the Privy Council under King William IV. It is governed by a Council of 60 members, elected from among the RIBA membership. The council passes down detailed responsibility and technical focus to the RIBA Board, main committees and executive. The executive is split into four subsidiary companies, each with its own board of directors, trustees and staff.
RIBA champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members. The institute provides the standards, training, and support to its members and works with the UK government to improve the design quality of public buildings, new homes and new communities.