Alex de Rijke Appointed Dean of Architecture at the Royal College of Art
12 September 2011 – The Royal College of Art announced this morning that it has appointed Alex de Rijke as Dean of the School of Architecture. He will take up the position in January 2012.
Professor de Rijke will be responsible for creating a new, enlarged School of Architecture with two new programmes – a one-year MArch course and a Master’s in Interiors, both of which will begin in Autumn 2012. He will also lead the current Master’s in Architecture (RIBA Part II) programme, formerly led by Professor Nigel Coates who left the College in July 2011.
de Rijke is a founding Director of the architectural practice dRMM, whose work is well known for innovative construction technologies and materials. Perhaps de Rijke’s most inventive design is his much-lauded ‘Sliding House’, created for a private client in 2009, which won an RIBA Award and both Grand Designs ‘Best new building’ and overall ‘Best house’ categories.
In 2004–5, awards for dRMM’s Centaur Street base included RIBA London ‘Building of the Year’, and Kingsdale School won the Wood Award for Structure and the Royal Fine Art Commission’s ‘Building of the Year’ Award. dRMM’s Clapham Manor School won The Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the London Planning Awards 2011 and was shortlisted for the 2010 Stirling Prize.
de Rijke has taught most recently at the Architectural Association, London; the Aalto University, Helsinki; and as Guest Professor at the School of Architecture in D_ü_sseldorf. He has served as External Examiner at the AA, London Metropolitan and Oxford Brookes universities. He was educated at the Polytechnic of Central London, the Academie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam, and the Royal College of Art. He completed RIBA Part II at the Polytechnic South West School of Architecture and RIBA Part III at South Bank University, London, where he subsequently began teaching what he called, ‘The Culture of Construction’.
According to Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art, “Alex will create a unique Architecture School focusing on theory and practice. With an emphasis on making and materials, I know he will exploit the excellent technical facilities of the RCA. What makes his appointment as Dean so exciting is the freshness of his vision: he is driven by a strong ethical and values-based agenda, with a radical desire to change both the educational model of architecture and also the profession. His vision accords entirely with the charter and mission of the RCA – an institution committed to thinking through making.”
Alex de Rijke says:
“I am delighted to accept the role of Dean of Architecture at the RCA.
Having always regarded education as a parallel discipline to practice, I will continue as Director of dRMM Architects while developing a new course for the RCA, one which repositions future architects as the most highly skilled prime movers in the currently deregulated and debased market for building design and procurement.
I am proposing that Architecture and Interiors at the new School are studied in the global context of new sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, as a remit and broad parameter for creative study and research. Together with developed workshop and studio connections to facilitate 1:1 prototyping, we will build a momentum that will make the new RCA School of Architecture become the postgraduate school that defines architecture as ‘Useful Art’.”