Europan isolation will hurt Britain
It’s a sad and disappointing day for young architects and designers in this country to learn that there will be no UK sites to enter in the forthcoming Europan session.
We know that many practices, and teams of people coming together for the first time, have been excited to enter the competition, and will now be thinking of which country to switch their energies to, depriving UK developments of a rich source of new ideas and fresh thinking from all over Europe.
The credit crisis seems to have unnerved potential site sponsors and stopped them from putting their sites forward. This may not only be due to projects and private funding drying up, but also because being a Europan site brings responsibilities, in principle at least, to start building the projects within two years, which may be too demanding, considering many developers are having trouble seeing more than two months into the future at the moment. This commitment has been tested to the limit even by sites put forward in the housing boom, in Oldham for example, which is still inching forward.
We at Loop Architecture think that Europan should remain a biennial fixture in the diary of all young architects and designers as a competition which sets the benchmark and informs the architectural and social debate about housing in this country and in Europe, and it should function in any economic climate.