Ron Arad, Richard Rogers, Will Alsop and others denounce the government’s attitude towards EU nationals in the Brexit negotiations
A group of well-known British architects took to the pages of The Guardian Sunday to blast Brexit, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, and their government’s purported discrimination toward EU nationals.
Among the signatories is the famed Richard Rogers (see London’s Millennium Dome), along with David Chipperfield, a designer of many well-known museums, and Michael and Patty Hopkins, the team behind the Glyndebourne opera house and Portcullis House in Westminster.
While we are fearful about the future in general, we are particularly concerned about the government’s attitude towards EU nationals. We have benefited enormously from the transfer of knowledge and influence that results from EU nationals working in the UK. Furthermore, we have benefited from our ability as individuals and as companies to trade services and knowledge with our European neighbours, creating a better understanding between peoples.
Within this context, we are appalled that the government should use those who have made considerable personal and professional commitments to this country, and who enrich our culture, as a negotiating chip.
According to another Guardian article, the architecture profession in Britain relies heavily on EU citizens. “A survey by Dezeen magazine earlier this year found that 33 [percent] of the workforce in London offices came from other EU countries, with some practices reporting that the number of overseas architects was as high as 80 [percent],” the paper reports.
After voters approved Brexit, the government was warned that around 1 million EU citizens living in the U.K. could be deported. Prime Minister Theresa May, who took office in July 2016, has expressed support for the rights of EU citizens living in Britain but has still remained somewhat noncommittal about their status.