The Royal College of Art, the world’s leading university of art and design, unveiled its New Campus in Battersea, London.
The most significant campus development in the history of The Royal College of Art is designed by internationally acclaimed architects Herzog & de Meuron.
The expansion marks a critical point in the RCA’s transformation into a dynamic, STEAM-focused postgraduate university (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) expanding into computer and materials science, robotics, advanced manufacturing, complex visualisation and data science, and intelligent mobility, enabling its students to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our times.
The new campus will transform the RCA with the following facilities:
- Four storeys of studios and workshops - for Sculpture (housed in the Linbury Sculpture Studio) and Contemporary Art Practice (housed in the Spiegel Design Studio), Moving Image (video and film), and the School of Design. Designed as social and educational spaces of creative transfer and collaboration, the studios will also accommodate temporary exhibitions and large-scale works.
- The Hangar – a double height, 350 sqm multifunctional activity space at the heart of the campus, with vast doors at each end to enable the installation of heavy, large, or complex works of art.
- Robotics Hangar – a smaller hangar and gallery space providing research testing and assembly areas for intelligent mobility, design engineering, sculpture and robotics, with aerial and aquatic robotics.
- Rausing Research & Innovation Building - eight floors of dedicated independent and confidential research space for areas such as materials science, soft robotics, advanced manufacturing, intelligent mobility, and AR and VR visualisation, housed in the Snap Visualisation Lab.
- The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design - a new purpose-built home for the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, which undertakes design research and projects with industry that contribute to improving people’s lives. The Design Age Institute now adjoins the Centre.
- InnovationRCA - housed in the Clore Innovation Centre - is the RCA’s centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support.
- Seminar & Conference Facility - the top floor of the Rausing Research & Innovation Building housing a new seminar and conference facility for use by the College and external partners.
The new development will ensure that the RCA continues to reach out towards its local community. Public walkways intersect the site, referencing the original Victorian street grid of this quarter of London. The RCA’s close neighbours include the headquarters of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and architects Foster & Partners.
The interior fit-out of the new campus celebrates the iconic designs of RCA alumni and staff, bringing together furniture and fittings selected for their approach to sustainable manufacturing and energy efficiency, concepts which are central to the new development. The building has been certified as BREEAM excellent following a £3 million investment, using a combination of integrated design and most significantly a commitment to low and zero carbon technologies.
Photo: Architects Jacques Herzog, Ascan Megernthaler, Vice-Chancellor of the RCA, Paul Thompson, and Architect John O’Mara, unveil the Royal College of Art’s new £135m design and innovation campus, designed by Herzog & de Meuron on 23 May 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for The Royal College of Art)
Dr. Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, Royal College of Art, said: “This wonderful new building embodies all that is best and most vital about the RCA – open, collaborative, interdisciplinary and bold. We are exceptionally grateful to the support to HM Treasury for helping the RCA to realise its ambition of bringing creativity, tech, fine art and innovation all together under one roof and these new facilities will ensure the next generation of world-leading designers, artists and creative entrepreneurs have all of the best possible chance to envision a better future for People and Planet.”
Herzog & de Meuron, said: “The RCA campus in Battersea is conceived as a porous and flexible ‘territory’ of platforms upon which the varied needs of the RCA curriculum are given space to change and grow, enabling the transformation of space as needed during this process. The studio and research buildings are designed as communities unto themselves - a place that encourages interactions between students, faculty and staff. Our intention is also to create a civic connector, encouraging circulation through the site and inviting exchange between members of the RCA community, the neighbourhood and wider city.”
Photos ©Iwan Baan Photography