Recently named as the top art and design school in the world, the Royal College of Art (RCA) is now set to embark upon the most exciting phase of development in its 179-year history as it transforms itself into a STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) graduate university.
The College is seeking to expand its research and knowledge exchange centres into the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, and intelligent mobility. In doing so, the RCA will bring together the worlds of science, art, design and technology.
Located near the existing Battersea campus, the new 15,000 square metre facility will host a range of new courses, and will embody the RCA’s radical ethos and quality of design experimentation.
Working closely with the RCA, MRC developed a competitive selection model that combined an invited process for creative leadership with the selection of other professional services.
In the first stage of the competition, a mixture of RCA alumni and renowned architectural practices were invited to submit Expressions of Interest covering practice background, awards, design philosophy, key individuals, and relevant projects.
This competition generated one of MRC’s ‘all-time’ shortlists. A stellar list of seven finalist teams was selected following an enthusiastic response in the first stage, in which a total of 97 Expressions of Interest were received from celebrated practices around the world. The RCA gained planning permission in January 2018 and the construction is expected to be complete in 2020.
Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Chair of the Architectural Selection Panel, remarked:
‘This shortlist represents an exceptional cross-section of international talent all wanting to engage with a world class institution. The panel was delighted with the range of talents and approaches, not least because the building has to reflect the radical nature, experimentation and high design standards of the world’s pre-eminent art and design university.’