Martha Thorne, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize and dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid, has warned of the dangers that the United Kingdom's decision to withdraw from the EU will pose to the architecture profession both in the UK and the EU. As reported by BDOnline, Thorne highlighted the mutual recognition of professional qualifications that has been established by the EU, enabling architects qualified in any EU country to practice in another EU country without being required to requalify.
"Some of the most outstanding innovations and architectural projects happen because of collaboration across disciplines and across countries," said Thorne. "Any obstacle to that meeting of minds hits the soul of a field like architecture."
Currently, the EU requires professional architecture bodies throughout the EU to automatically recognize architecture qualifications from other member states, provided the qualification:
- was received from a university or equivalent-level institution
- lasted at least 4 years full-time or 6 years study of which at least 3 years were full-time
- had architecture as the principal component
- had both theoretical and practical components
- taught a set of basic knowledge and skills listed by the EU (in Article 46 of Directive 2005/36/EC on recognition of professional qualifications)
However, by withdrawing from the EU the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the United Kingdom will no longer be required to adhere to these laws, while similarly EU member states would not be required to recognize British degrees. Thorne warned that such a change would deter British students from studying in mainland Europe, and deter other students from studying in Britain, as students would have to "jump through hoops" to get their qualifications recognized in their home country. Thorne called on the UK government and architecture's regulatory bodies in the UK, the ARB and RIBA, to "do everything they can to break down those barriers."
In response to Thorne's warning, ARB registrar Karen Holmes told BDOnline that “the whole point of the EU directive is to allow freedom of movement based on mutual recognition of qualifications. At the moment we’ve been told it’s business as usual. Whether that changes depends on the deal the government negotiates."