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New campus-less architecture school promises to slash fees

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Plans for a new school of architecture with a mantra to provide ‘lower cost, better value architectural education’ have been unveiled

The London School of Architecture (LSA) promises ‘an alternative Part 2 route into the profession for talented and self-motivated Part 1 graduates’.

The campus-less institution will rely on a network of around 25 London practices which will take on salaried students for a year and provide them with the required technical training.

Each year the focus will be on one London borough. After completing their placements the students will be expected to ‘embed’ themselves in the locale where they will complete a further year of ‘self-directed’ studies under the watchful gaze of their practice mentors.

As well as the lure of working with respected practices the man behind the LSA, architectural lecturer, critic and deputy editor of AJ’s sister magazine the Architectural Review Will Hunter, said a major draw would be the fact that fees would be around half the price of rival schools.

Writing in the AR, Hunter said: ‘Putting numbers on it was interesting. We started the fees at half the price of a London diploma course: so instead of £9,000 per year, £4,500 per year, with two thirds of the tuition fees actually allocated to the teaching budget.

‘Once you start running the figures through that starts to look pretty tight − but we want to keep it as close to that as possible. ‘

‘Fundamentally,’ added Hunter, ‘we want the school to be a platform within the industry, a place to generate and transfer knowledge between study and practice. And we also want it to create a nimble network not a rigid hierarchy.’

Hunter has signed up a governing board consisting of art collector and writer Niall Hobhouse, Architecture Foundation director Sarah Ichioka and Baylight chief executive Crispin Kelly.

On the academic side, the LSA will be guided by renowned designer Nigel Coates, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) professor of architecture Leon van Schaik and architect James Soane.

LSA which also has the backing of Stirling Prize contender Niall McLaughlin and DSDHA’s Deborah Saunt, is in the process of seeking ARB accreditation. It aims to make a full submission to the body next year, with the first intake of students scheduled for 2015.

Read more about the LSA in October’s Architectural Review.


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