The new project by the Swiss studio for what is probably the most important art and design university in the world was inaugurated on 23 May in Battersea, London.
On 23 May 2022, London’s Royal College of Art, the world’s leading art and design university, unveiled the new Battersea campus designed by internationally renowned firm Herzog & de Meuron.
A £135 million project described by Sir Jony Ive, Rector of the Royal College of Art as “a new chapter in the life of the college and the inspirational work its graduates will bring into the world”.
The expansion marks the transformation of the RCA into a STEAM-focused university (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), expanding into computer and materials science, robotics, advanced manufacturing, complex visualisation and data science, and intelligent mobility.
The new campus consists of four floors of studios and laboratories designed as social and educational spaces, a 350 m² multifunctional hangar and a second, smaller one dedicated to robotics; it also includes the Rausing Research & Innovation Building, eight floors of space dedicated to independent research that houses, on the top floor, the Seminar & Conference Facility, for use by the College and external partners.
Herzog & de Meuron stated: “The RCA campus in Battersea is conceived as a porous and flexible ‘territory’ of platforms upon which the varied needs of the RCA curriculum are given space to change and grow, enabling the transformation of space as needed during this process. The studio and research buildings are designed as communities unto themselves – a place that encourages interactions between students, faculty and staff”.
“Our intention is also to create a civic connector”, they continue, “encouraging circulation through the site and inviting exchange between members of the RCA community, the neighbourhood and wider city”.
The unveiling of the new campus coincided with the announcement of a new five-year strategy for 2022-2027, which will support new insights and leadership in the areas of mobility and urbanism, climate crisis and circular economy, ageing populations and inclusivity, design and AI. Among the goals is also the desire to increase the number of start-ups promoted by the InnovationRCA project.