Dutch architect best known in Britain for Middlesbrough gallery goes bust

Erick van Egeraat, the Dutch architect best known in the UK for his RIBA award-winning Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, has become the first high-profile architectural casualty of the credit crunch.

According to Dutch media reports, the practice was declared insolvent at the end of last week. Van Egeraat’s London practice had previously gone into voluntary insolvency in 2005, blaming the British planning system. Although he pledged to leave the UK market, Van Egeraat had recently been working on a £2.7bn masterplan for Canning Town in east London for Chelsfield Partners.

Although relatively unknown in British circles, van Egeraat was considered something of a starchitect in his native Holland. He co-founded Mecanoo, the practice recently commissioned to design Birmingham library, and won the Rietveldprijs, the country’s biannual prize for architecture, in 2007. He is an honorary fellow of the RIBA.

The firm employs around 150 staff in five offices in Budapest, London, Moscow, Prague and Rotterdam. Its failure is reportedly due to the cancellation of several major projects as a result of the credit crunch. Many of can Egeraat’s staff are likely to lose their jobs in the restructuring.