Somerset-founded architecture practice Invisible Studio is moving its operations outside of the UK as a response to Brexit, Dezeen has learned.
The studio, which was founded by British architect and television presenter Piers Taylor, told Dezeen it is “actively investing in a future outside of the UK”.
“We feel little interest in working in the UK, and feel limited interest in engaging with the UK as an idea or a social and cultural landscape and [this] has led us to refocus on working outside the UK,” the studio said.
“We’d be happy never to work in the UK again”
“Post-Brexit, we’d be happy never to work in the UK again,” it added.
It made the revelation in responses to a Dezeen survey exploring the impact on architecture studios of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) three years ago.
The survey found that nine in 10 UK architecture studios feel they have been negatively affected by Brexit, while 84 per cent would rejoin the EU if the option was available.
“Brexit has been a catastrophe,” Invisible Studio said in comments on the survey. “The barriers are obvious but it it is the cultural loss that is even greater.”
“Architecture depends on cross-cultural exchange of ideas and benefits from free movement. It is staggering how diminished the UK scene has become post-Brexit,” it continued.
Asked directly if the studio has actively started to work away from the UK since Brexit and is no longer working on new UK projects, Taylor told Dezeen: “Yes, we are actively investing in a future outside of the UK feeling that in my lifetime, the UK is unlikely to represent the type of political landscape we feel good about contributing to.”
Invisible Studio has always resisted having a geographic identity, with no address on its website, but Taylor confirmed the practice now has an office base in continental Europe.
Studio doesn’t “want to be associated with” UK
“We are still working on projects in the UK for organisations or people that we feel share our values, but for the most part the UK has come to embody the type of regime most right-minded organisations would not want to be associated with,” Taylor added.
“We’re far happier working in continental Europe and the rest of the world, but as we look at the havoc Brexit has unleashed, if we never worked in the UK again we wouldn’t mind one bit.”
The studio said it has lost EU staff and suffered impacts on existing projects as a result of Brexit.
In particular, it cited the limit on the amount of time UK residents can spend in EU countries per 180 days, difficulty obtaining professional indemnity insurance, barriers to bidding for EU contracts, problems importing materials and “cultural embarrassment”.
Founded in 2010, Invisible Studio is known for its small, experimental projects that work with natural materials. It was shortlisted for emerging architecture studio of the year at the 2022 Dezeen Awards.
The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 following the Brexit vote in June 2016, with a one-year transition period meaning no changes kicked in until 1 January 2021.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development expects the UK’s economic performance over the next two years to be worse than any other advanced economy, apart from Russia.
“The government continues to take full advantage of the benefits of Brexit, restoring the UK’s status as a sovereign, independent country that can determine its own future,” a UK government spokesperson told Dezeen.
The photography is by Jim Stephenson.
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