Chipperfield predicts election will be a 'disaster'

Elizabeth Hopkirk

David Chipperfield

Leading architect speaks out about Brexit and Labour’s likely ‘trouncing’ on June 8

Brexit has “contaminated” Britain’s sense of fair play and dignity – and the general election will only make it worse, David Chipperfield has warned.

Treating European colleagues’ residency rights as trading tools was “obscene”, he said, adding that leaving the EU would come to be seen as one of the worst decisions the country had ever made.

“Brexit has contaminated us to the point where even our sense of fair play and dignity have been compromised,” he said in an interview with CLADglobal.

“I think we’re shocking Europe by our behaviour to the EU nationals. Why doesn’t Theresa May take this unplayable card off the table immediately?”

His comments come in the week that he and a host of leading architects wrote to the Guardian demanding protection for EU nationals working in Britain’s architecture practices. At the same time Norman Foster counselled architects to “get on with it” rather than rue the referendum result.

The founder of David Chipperfield Architects, who said his practice would be OK, argued that trade was not the biggest issue, despite the country’s preoccupation with it.

“Much more importantly, I think it’s bad for the mind. It’s bad for culture. It’s going to be very bad for British architecture,” he said.

Building a wall was daft, he said, when the UK has much to learn from and share with the continent. It was “based on the worst tendencies of British provincialism”, he added.

In the same interview, he predicted the election on June 8 was “going to be another disaster”.

“I mean Labour are going to be trounced,” he said. “Theresa May is going to be energised and the right wing of her party is going to be energised.”

He said the prime minister would wrongly think she had a stronger hand in Brexit negotiations – but the truth was there was “nothing to play for”.

But Chipperfield said architecture was resilient and the next generation of architects would adapt.


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