How will Brexit impact Architecture?

Brexit has caused a riot in the UK, quite literally. Not many people have kept their opinion on the matter quiet and nor will architects. Architects and designers have broadcasted their disappointment over the UK’s decision to leave the EU with Hawkins\Brown co-founder Roger Hawkins classifying the decision as a “nightmare”.

Many people were convinced that the referendum would result in a vote to stay in the EU. In a letter written to back up the vote to remain, concerns are expressed that global creative success may be weakened.

British architects and designers were amongst the tens of thousands of people who were protesting against the UK leaving the EU. Logically, there is the potential that businesses may suffer from a decreased client base, a reduction in international trade and other related consequences of Brexit. In practice, however, will the impact on the architecture really be this drastic?

Siemens’ CEO for the UK market, Jurgen Maier, has argued that what people tend to overlook is that UK will be able to set new standards for companies to comply with, which they would not have been able to do outside the UK. The decision to leave may give the UK a chance to be creative and improve how it operates.

Designers must address the fact that companies now need to push themselves to be more creative outside of the EU. Jurgen Maier rightly stated that companies need to consider whether they want a future where they can survive in the UK or whether they want a future where they can thrive.

Despite initial concerns for the industry, with 78% of architects saying they would vote to remain in a survey conducted by BDOnline in June 2016, any impact on architects’ global creative success has thus far been limited. In fact, this year’s WA100 reveals the industry’s optimism about market growth in the US and China, followed by the UK. If Architects can work in many countries that do not belong to the European Union, working in Europe without EU membership shouldn’t be an issue.

The biggest risk to the industry would be the economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit. Overseas investors fund a substantial sum and numerous homes are credited with foreign money due to London’s safe haven status. London’s safe haven status may in future become less secure as a result. However, this could also motivate British-based architects to expand on their creativity and become more successful at national level as well as internationally.

Though last month’s decision may have come as a shock, the outlook remains fairly positive for the UK architecture industry, and innovation should help British designers embrace the changes yet to come. Onwards and upwards!

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