The enormous value of London’s booming architecture sector has been revealed for the first time, in new research published by the Mayor of London’s economics team in partnership with the London Festival of Architecture. 

London’s architecture sector is a £1.7 billion industry, with growth outstripping both the creative industries and the London economy as a whole. The capital’s status as the global architectural hub is confirmed, with a large and diverse international workforce. Architecture is shown to make a major contribution to the UK’s balance of payments as one of the country’s most valuable creative exports. Key findings in the GLA Economics Working Paper London’s Architectural Sector include:

Businesses

•       London’s architecture sector produced £1.7 billion in gross value added (GVA) – a measure of the value of goods and services produced.

•       The value of architecture in London may be undervalued by creative policy makers – the sector is 38% bigger than the product, graphic and fashion design sector

•       Architecture in London is growing by 7.6% every year – overtaking the creative industries (3.9%) and the London economy as a whole (3%)

•       London contributed around 42% to the total GVA of UK’s architecture sector in 2015

Employment

•       London architecture employs 22,800 people – three times the population of the City of London

•       40% of London’s architects are female – destroying the myth that architecture in London is overwhelmingly male

International competitiveness

•       The UK is a net exporter of architectural services, exporting £437 million more than it imported in 2015

•       With only £31 million of architectural imports into the UK, the importance of good post-Brexit trade deals to protect exports is paramount

•       Around one-third of jobs in London’s architecture sector held by non-UK nationals

•       London remains one of the most attractive places to study architecture in the world: 28.3% of undergraduate (and 36.7% of postgraduate) architecture students are non-UK nationals

 

London’s architecture sector will be on show during the London Architecture Festival, which runs across the capital from 1-30 June 2017. Speaking at the launch of the report at the MIPIM international property event in Cannes, London Festival of Architecture director Tamsie Thomson said:

“It is said that good design is invisible. Thanks to this research, the contribution of London architecture is now plain to see and it is high time to reassess its contribution. We have always known that London is the best place in the world to practise and study as an architect, and its social contribution is self-evident in the streets around us. Now we have the figures to prove that London’s architecture sector is a major economic player.

“We cannot take the success of London’s architecture sector for granted. Our research shows that this success – including booming exports - is driven by a diverse workforce from all over the word. We look to the Government to negotiate responsible post-Brexit trade deals if London is to remain the world’s architectural hub.”

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:

“London is home to some of the world’s best architects and this research underlines the important role they can play in the city’s economy. It’s only right that as well as celebrating the aesthetics and social benefit of great design, we also recognise its financial contribution to the capital. This is yet more evidence that London is open for business and open to the best and brightest architectural talent from around the world.”