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Architecture Summer School

An intense and immersive design experience at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture.

Dates: 22–26 July 2019

Duration: Five days

Location: RCA Kensington

Fee:  £1,250

Please note: ​​​​​all course fees are for the course only and do not include accommodation, food or transport. The fee includes basic materials for the course.

Please register your interest to join the waiting list for summer 2020.

Course overview

An intense and immersive design experience at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture.

The School of Architecture Summer School offers a challenging and engaging programme of design studio experience, visits, lectures and skills training.

This five-day short course is ideal preparation for Master’s study and will give participants an opportunity to experience the environment and methodologies of architectural design studies at the Royal College of Art while preparing material that can contribute to a design portfolio. Focused around a spatial design project, students will work individually and in groups on design proposals.

The course brings together theoretical reflection and production, pushing participants to develop their skills and to generate conceptual and physical products of the highest standard for their portfolio.

The Summer School is an immersive experience, supported by expert staff with opportunities for individual work and collaborative projects. Projects are supported by Royal College of Art staff and external contributors with a varied range of expertise, including guest speakers who will share their practice and ideas. 

Based at our Kensington campus, visits to a variety of architectural sites around London will enable the studio to use the city as its testing ground. 

More information about external guest speakers will be confirmed in 2019. 

What will I learn?

You will:

  • learn through individual and group tutorials, discussions, presentations and crits
  • experience studio teaching supported by site visits, lectures and seminars
  • engage with workshops in making or drawing skills, as appropriate to the brief
  • benefit from an individual portfolio review.

How will I learn?
    Learning takes place in groups of up to 25 participants. You will:
    • experience the RCA model of studio teaching and practice to develop design and presentation techniques while building a portfolio
    • work collaboratively with a diverse range of colleagues from varied backgrounds, honing teamwork and leadership skills
    • work with leading design practitioners and educators to develop a critical, creative and insightful practice.

    Course outcomes:

      You will:
      • learn methods and techniques to develop a spatial project and produce a supporting narrative
      • deepen conceptual and critical thinking skills
      • acquire representation techniques in relation to a design proposal
      • improve your verbal presentation skills
      • develop and receive feedback on a portfolio.

      Who should attend?

      The Summer School is open to anyone interested in preparing for Master’s-level studies in spatial design. 

      The course would benefit people with some experience of a design discipline (perhaps at undergraduate or recently graduated level).

      The course will also be useful to participants joining Programmes in the School of Architecture or those considering studying at the Royal College of Art in the future.

      Programme team

      The programme is convened by Douglas Murphy. Douglas is a visiting lecturer on the Architecture Programme at the Royal College of Art. He is the author of the acclaimed books Last Futures (Verso, 2016), a cultural history of the radical architecture of the 1960s and ’70s, and The Architecture of Failure (Zero, 2012), which tells the story of nineteenth-century iron and glass architecture and its long influence on modernist culture. He is currently working on Nincompoopolis, about the architecture of Boris Johnson’s London, published by Repeater in 2017.

      Paul Maitre Devallon and Nicolas Guérin from NP2F, a French architectural practice founded in 2009 based in Nice and Paris. They work on architectural and urban projects. Areas of expertise include: sports, housing, cultural and educational buildings, places of relaxation and restoration and public spaces. The practice curated the exhibition 'Sports, portrait d’une métropole' for the Pavillion de l’Arsenal in Paris in 2014. NP2F has successively delivered the National Center for Circus Arts, a teaching and sports building for the Ministry of Culture, multi-sports fields for the city of Alfortville and a physical education ground in Paris. The office is currently developing other sports projects such as the Sports Cathedral in Bordeaux Brazza. Furthermore, in 2018 they won the competition to lead the construction of the new Mediterranean Institute in Marseille and the prestigious competition Reinventing Paris II. Notable awards include: Lafarge Holcim Awards (2017) for the Sports Cathedral in Bordeaux, Equerre d’argent (2016) Culture, Youth and Sport category with Caractère Spécial for the National Center of Circus Arts in Châlons-en-Champagne.

      Alongside Douglas, the course will be delivered by staff from the School of Architecture across the MA ArchitectureMA Interior Design and PhD Programmes. 

      Admission criteria

      Participants must:

      • have an undergraduate degree in design or a demonstrably creative background
      • have a good level of English language
      • be 18 years or over.

      Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described courses as circumstances dictate.


      School of Architecture Executive Education
      T: +44 (0)20 7590 4538


      Register interest to download the full course description.

      "In a very short time at the RCA I started to see architecture in London very differently: its buildings, materials and forms." Elizaveta Artjukhovich

      VDS, Summer School 2017 student

      "Fantastic mix of cultures and people... a great focus on learning by doing!" Carlo Brunelli

      Head of Creative, GSK – Summer School 2017 student

      Douglas Murphy
      Douglas Murphy