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'Visionary' Coates resigns as RCA head

Nigel Coates has stepped down as head of architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London after 16 years in the role

It is understood Coates wants to focus on writing, his own, growing practice and product design work. Appointed as the Professor of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in 1995, Coates is best known for designing the British Pavilion at Expo ‘98 in Lisbon, the Body Zone at London’s Millennium Dome, the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield, as well as furniture and lighting.

Speaking exclusively to the AJ, Nigel Coates said: ‘Leading the architecture department has been a fantastic experience, and I am incredibly proud of the body of work the students and staff have produced.’

‘The decision to leave has been incredibly difficult to make. At the beginning of the year the RCA Senate accepted my proposal to expand the department into a school of architecture.

‘But I’ve always been a hands-on head. Having four times as many students has moved the role away from my creative interests. My creative life outside of the college has intensified over the last few years, and I didn’t feel I could take on this more time-consuming role.’

The Rector of the RCA Paul Thomson said: ‘Nigel has done a fantastic job of taking the architecture department to new heights during his tenure and has defined the vision for an expanded new school, offering the new M.Arch and Interiors courses in 2012.’

‘He leaves at the end of this academic year with these new plans in place in order to concentrate on the growing demands of his own design studio.’

‘The College would like to thank Nigel for his visionary leadership of the architecture programme over the past 16 years. He has transformed the department and is leaving us with an truly exciting strategy for future growth which it will now be our task to implement.’

Read Coates’ biography here.

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