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Royal College of Art Names Rausing Research & Innovation Building in Battersea

The Royal College of Art (RCA), the world’s number one art and design university, today officially named the Rausing Research & Innovation Building at its new Battersea Campus, which is set to open for students in September 2021. This follows a £15 million donation by the Sigrid Rausing Trust to the College’s GenerationRCA campaign. This donation is the single, largest philanthropic gift in the history of the RCA and adds to the £54 million Government investment the College received in 2016.

At a special event today, held at the site for the new Battersea Campus, designed by world renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, Dr Sigrid Rausing marked the occasion by making a cement-impression handprint which will go on to be displayed within the brick-work of the building. Welcomed by Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, RCA, guests also witnessed models and artwork of the new building, as well as a fly-through video.

The Rausing Research & Innovation Building will house advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility – which form part of the new vision for the RCA in 2021. It will also contain the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and InnovationRCA, the RCA’s centre for enterprise, incubation and business support, which will see the number of supported start-up businesses increase two-fold.

Commenting, Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, RCA said: 
“Our new Battersea campus is the next step in the transformation of the RCA.  We are very grateful to Dr Rausing and delighted that the Sigrid Rausing Trust's generous gift has enabled the RCA to put firm foundations in place to support our vision of bringing advanced research, innovation and design together under a single roof. 

“This is a significant moment for the RCA as we continue to deliver our strategy of art, design, creative thinking, science, engineering and technology collaborating together to solve today’s global challenges.”

Dr Sigrid Rausing said: “With ambitious plans for the future, the RCA has an impeccable record of teaching, innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration. I am delighted to make this gift, which will help the RCA build the infrastructure it needs to nurture future generations of students to develop creative ideas and concepts that will go on to change the way we live.”

Launched earlier this year, GenerationRCA is an ambitious five-year campaign representing the most significant development in its history since the College was founded in 1837. It will propel the RCA’s radical new academic vision by focusing on three key pillars: ‘Places, Projects and People’:

1. Places – will transform the RCA’s campuses with the new flagship Battersea development, and the revitalisation of the Darwin Building in Kensington

2. People – creating a significant scholarship endownment that will support talented individuals, no matter what their background, to study at the RCA.

3. Projects – The RCA’s academic vision is to transform the accepted paradigm of an art and design university, by injecting key scientific disciplines into the mix of creative disciplines traditionally on offer. 

The new development will ensure that the RCA continues to reach out towards its local community, with the creation of a new café and art materials shop. 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. Construction of the building is underway.


Press Enquiries 

For further information, images or to arrange an interview please contact: 

Bethany Bull, Royal College of Art, on: +44 (0)20 7590 4114 or [email protected]

Erica Bolton, Bolton & Quinn on: +44 (0)7711 698 186 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

About the RCA

The RCA, the world’s number one art and design university, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high-performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast-paced world.

The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

In 2018, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales became Royal Visitor of the College. The Prince of Wales succeeded His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who was Royal Visitor for 50 years.

The RCA employs a cadre of around 1,000 professionals from around the world – spanning professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in around 30 academic programmes.

RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. Working across scientific and technical canvases and beyond set boundaries, RCA students seek to solve real-world problems.

In the same year, the RCA opened the Burberry Material Futures Research Group to invent sustainable materials, transform consumer experience and advance manufacturing; and the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, supported by Hyundai Kia, to lead the research agenda at the intersection of people, mobility and technology. 

The RCA runs joint programmes with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 50 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 600 UK jobs.