A European Perspective on Brexit as RSHP opens a new office in France

Architectural practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today announced that it is opening a new office in Paris, France as a direct result of the impact of Brexit and to form a gateway to working in Europe as the UK officially left the European Union on 31 December 2020.

“Brexit is a damaging and profoundly regressive move” says Stephen Barrett, Partner Responsible for France at RSHP. The practice has been working seamlessly in France for over five decades, exporting British expertise, but Brexit did not include a provision for the mutual recognition of professional services such as architecture. Barrett says “the impact of Brexit on architecture is manifold, from directly impacting the lives of architects and their families working across Europe and in the UK, to the recognition of qualifications when submitting bids for work in Europe.” And yet the practice is determined to turn what has become a necessity into a positive opportunity for the practice as Stephen Barrett says “It is also an important step towards advancing the practice’s growing project portfolio in France and working with a great francophone team that numbers around 20 all told. We are starting cautiously but hope our business will grow naturally as it has done to date.” The practice is working on a wide range of projects in France at various stages of development.

The team are currently working on a masterplan in Montparnasse, Paris which aims at ‘greening the city’ by radically transforming this pivotal neighbourhood of more than 9 hectares. The new public realm will include the planting of 1,500 new trees planted in a dense urban site in the centre of Paris. The practice was also recently involved in The Roads of the Future Grand Paris study that looked at the future of road infrastructure and mobility in the metropolis. This examined two principal timelines – 2030 and 2050 – and proposed the transformation of the existing motorway network into a network of linear, multifunctional parks that complete and expand the existing public transport offer with shared autonomous Mobility-on-Demand, walking and cycling. These multi-use armatures also provide a platform for renewables, recycling and the greening of the city.

Hamish Crockett, Associate and Architect at RSHP says “I’ve spent most of my life travelling between France and Britain. Despite Brexit, the strong links between the two countries, and between Paris and London will continue. The two sides still have much to learn from each other. We will continue to share our international knowhow in France but we also hope that our experience in Paris will be able to enrich the work we do in London.”

The Parisian office will enable the Practice to build on their existing presence and experience of working in the region for over 50 years with high profile projects including the Centre Pompidou, European Courts of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Bordeaux Law Courts, Grand Paris, masterplans at Bercy Charenton and the Gare de Lyon, a new Terminal at Lyon Airport and the new Louvre Conservation Centre in Liévin.

Théo Pagnon, Senior Architect says “We feel that our British culture and our approach to architecture have always been appreciated by our French partners and clients. The opening of our office in Paris is to enable us to continue to work and evolve in an intellectual and creative environment that we thrive in.”

RSHP also has offices in London, Shanghai and Sydney.

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