Big name architects including Bob Allies, Peter Clegg, David Chipperfield and Cindy Walters have signed a letter warning the prime minister of the risks to the profession from Brexit.
Organised by Invisible Studio founder Piers Taylor, the open missive to Theresa May has 35 signatures to date.
It warns that the architecture culture in Britain will be ‘immeasurably diminished’ if the UK leaves the EU.
Tensions are running high as Brexit negotiations crank up. In September, the RIBA branded a key migration policy report – which mooted a minimum salary requirement for those seeking to work in the UK – ‘extremely worrying’ for the architecture sector.
The AJ last month reported that the Architects Registration Board had recorded a 42 per cent fall in the number of EU registrations since the 2016 exit vote. Architects raised concerns that a loss of diversity would lead to ‘boring conversations and dull design’.
Now Taylor is seeking to drum up further opposition to tighter migration controls through his letter, which insists there is ‘no good Brexit’.
The letter reads: ‘We are concerned that unless we are members of the EU with the free movement of ideas and people that this brings, the culture within which we practice architecture in Britain will be immeasurably diminished.
‘At present, under proposed immigration rules, your definition of a skilled worker excludes almost all of those who come here to work in our industry. For us, instead of being an opportunity, this is devastating.’
In July, leading figures in UK architecture including RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance and Make founding partner Ken Shuttleworth wrote a separate letter to Theresa May setting out their Brexit demands.
Full text of Taylor’s open letter
Dear Prime Minister
Architecture is an international industry where cooperation across borders is critical to the success of our practices. Much of our work is pan-European, and many of our staff are from the EU. Figures suggest that one in five architects in the UK are from the EU, and one in three in London. We thrive on this sense of being part of an international community, and have – as a culture – benefited immeasurably from the freedom of movement that has enabled many European architects to contribute to the enormous success that is British Architecture.
We believe that without being members of the EU, this success would not have been possible. We are concerned that unless we are members of the EU with the free movement of ideas and people that this brings, the culture within which we practice architecture in Britain will be immeasurably diminished. At present, under proposed immigration rules, your definition of a skilled worker excludes almost all of those who come here to work in our industry. For us, instead of being an opportunity, this is devastating.
We believe that there is no good Brexit. We also believe that the 48 per cent of the votes cast in the last referendum have been ignored. When you talk of the will of the people, you are not taking into account that almost half of all votes cast were to remain, and polls show that in the period since the referendum many of those who voted leave have changed their mind. With this, we do not see within any of your negotiation with the EU any consideration whatsoever of the circumstances that we need for our industry and associated institutions to continue to thrive.
David Chipperfield, David CHipperfield Architects
Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins
Níall McLaughlin, Níall McLaughlin Architects
Harriet Harriss, RCA
Cindy Walters, Walters & Cohen
Gianni Botsford, Gianni Botsford Architects
Koen Steemers, University of Cambridge
Stephen Bates, Sergison Bates
Paul Monaghan, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Sophy Twohig, Hopkins Architects
Robin Nicholson, Cullinan Studio
Bob Allies, Allies and Morrison
Gerard Maccreanor, Maccreanor Lavington
David Lloyd Jones, Herbert & Partners
Joe Kerr, Syracuse University
Jeremy Till, Central St Martins - University of the Arts London
Jo Wright, Arup
Simon Usher, MUMA
Dean Hawkes, University of Cambridge
Nicola Du Pisanie, Stonewood Design
Peter Oborn, Peter Oborn Associates
Robert Mull, professor of architecture, University of Brighton
Martin Gledhill, University of Bath
Glenn Howells, Glenn Howells Architects
Hannah Durham, Cullinan Studio
Stephen Taylor, Stephen Taylor Architects
Fionn Stephenson, University of Sheffield
Roddy Langmuir, Cullinan Associates
Russell Curtis, RCKa Architects
Simon Henley, Henley Hale Brown
Piers Taylor, Invisible Studio
Alan Stanton, Stanton Williams
Andrew Grant, Grant Associates
Meredith Bowles, Mole Architects
Joe Morris, Morris + Company
Peter Clegg, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Chris Boyce, Assorted Skills + Talents*
Anyone who wishes to be added to the letter can contact Piers Taylor by email using firstname.lastname@example.org