The Royal College of Art’s flagship new building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, has been granted planning permission by Wandsworth Council. The building is part of a £108m investment programme in the RCA – the most radical transformation of the institution’s campus in its 181-year history.
The new building will welcome Arts & Humanities programmes in Sculpture and Contemporary Art Practice, and Design programmes including Design Products, Fashion and Textiles, and Global Innovation Design and Innovation Design Engineering (delivered jointly with Imperial College London). In addition new programmes will be developed to encompass computer and material science, wearable technology, robotics, advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility.
The new campus will also house start-up businesses as part of the University’s expanded InnovationRCA incubator programme, which will see the number of supported businesses double. The March 2015 report ‘Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start-Ups’, by HEFCE described the RCA as having ‘the highest number of student spin-outs with university ownership in recent years in the UK’.
Its commercialisation incubator, InnovationRCA, has helped 75 graduates launch 50 start-ups attracting £39 million in funding from investors over the past decade. The new development will help the RCA continue to nurture creative entrepreneurs in areas such as autonomous vehicles, housing, gaming, green design and architecture and design for ageing populations.
The Battersea development is estimated to require financing of £108 million. In 2016 the Government invested £54 million. The remaining funds will be secured through a mix of philanthropic donations, and RCA investment. A comprehensive fundraising campaign, GenerationRCA, will be launched during 2018 to raise further funds for the Battersea project. Work will begin on the site in spring 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in April 2020.
Ascan Mergenthaler, Senior Partner, said, “The Battersea South Campus expansion will be a new centre for the UK and the Royal College of Art’s culture of design innovation and entrepreneurialism at the intersection of science and the arts. Workshops are the nucleus of the college and of the new campus extension. Our design is rooted in the surrounding townscape – it is simple, robust, and flexible, and delivers a formula for the transforming dynamic of the RCA.” Source by RCA.