With its economy expected to shrink nearly 3 percent this year, Britain is facing the most severe recession in the developed world. And with troubled banks unwilling to lend, building projects are at a standstill and architects are hurting. “Every firm, regardless of size, is affected,” says John McAslan, chairman of London-based John McAslan & Partners, whose 100-person practice downsized by about 10 percent over the past six months.
Projects by some of the biggest names are among the first casualties. In August, British Land put on hold its 47-story-tall, Richard Rogers–designed Leadenhall Building, known as the Cheesegrater. In November, Dutch bank ING pulled the plug on Frank Gehry’s $433 million waterfront development in Brighton.