RCA gains more space in campus expansion

Royal College of Art rector Sir Christopher Frayling says the college’s expansion to a new Battersea campus will give the design school ‘room to breathe’.

The proposed £33m new campus (pictured) on Battersea Bridge Road, London SW11, which will house the schools of fine art and applied art, was granted planning permission by Wandsworth Council last week.

Frayling told Design Week the move would free up space at the RCA’s Kensington campus equal to ‘about half of the Darwin Building’.

He said the plans had been developed to provide more room for everyone at the RCA, adding that ‘the Darwin Centre was built when we had 550 students – we now have 850’.

Frayling said he hoped the Battersea campus, designed by architect Haworth Tompkins, would develop the area as a ‘hub’, attracting creative industries to an area which already houses architects Norman Foster and Will Alsop, and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. The campus will also feature 30 designers’ incubators, which will provide facilities for recent design graduates. Although RCA graduates will get preference, the incubators will be available to all graduates.

Frayling says, ‘London is full of artists’ studios, but I hardly know of any designers’ incubators.’

As well as housing the schools of art, the 7000m2 campus will feature studio and workshop space and a state-of-the-art 250-seat lecture theatre. About 250 students will move to RCA Battersea.

The first phase of development is expected to be completed in 2011, with the second phase scheduled to be finished by 2013.

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