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The Royal College of Art: Designing the Future

The Royal College of Art is embarking on an ambitious programme of development for its London campus. This includes the construction of a new building at Battersea – designed by Herzog & de Meuron and scheduled to open in 2020 – and the opening of a new hub for communication, architecture,  humanities and their integrated practices in London’s newest research and creative quarter, the regenerated BBC Media Village in White City, in autumn 2017.

This enhanced RCA will create an unprecedented concentration of postgraduate exploration across art and design, allowing the College to expand its offer with new MA programmes and open new research centres in Intelligent Mobility, Computer Science and Robotics, and Materials Science, tackling real-world issues through the introduction of design into traditional STEM areas.

The 4,000sqm new building is in the heart of the £4 billion redevelopment of White City, and in close proximity to Imperial College London’s new state-of-the-art campus and learning environment. The site will foster a culture of research and innovation propagated by students, researchers and entrepreneurs, and supporting innovation on an unprecedented scale in London.

Until Battersea opens, White City will be home to the RCA’s Schools of Communication and Humanities. The two Schools will create an academic community of more than 600 students and staff in what is already becoming a hub for the creative industries. The move will open up further opportunities for interdisciplinary practice, including local external partners who can offer exhibition space, opportunities for live projects, digital direction partnerships and more. Close links with RCA Architecture, Design, Fine Art, Applied Art and Fashion in Kensington and Battersea will be maintained, as well as with existing partner institutions.

The Schools of Communication and Humanities are world-renowned for their groundbreaking understanding and critical interrogation of culture and media in the context of communications, society and industry. Together, they provide an environment for innovative thinking and making to happen within an informed, expert and facilitated space for play, experimentation and risk, within an environment based on contextual, critical thought.

Professor Neville Brody, Dean of the School of Communication said, ‘This is an unprecedented opportunity to extend and deepen our subject landscape, allowing a more leading-edge approach grounded in experience and expertise, with new initiatives underpinned by our reputation for innovation and skill.’

Professor Jane Pavitt, Dean of the School of Humanities added: ‘This move will give the School, and most importantly, its students and staff, a quality of space and interaction that will foster new thinking and practice in relation to arts and culture, media, design and the built environment. We look forward to shaping a vibrant and integrated creative environment in our new home.’

The new building at Battersea will come to embody a progressive, contemporary approach to global pedagogy, in which science and technology are fundamental and complementary components in educating the artists and designers of the future. It will provide 15,000sqm of new studio, teaching, workshop and research space, to create the best art and design university facilities in the world. Work begins at Battersea in early 2018 with the clearing of existing buildings on the site and is scheduled for completion in 2020–21.