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New London School of Architecture opens for applications


The long-awaited, campus-less London School of Architecture (LSA) has opened for applications

The school, which is the brainchild of former-Architectural Review executive editor Will Hunter, promises ‘an alternative Part 2 route into the profession for talented and self-motivated Part 1 graduates’.

Run in partnership with London Metropolitan University, the two-year-long postgraduate course is supported by 35 London-based architecture practices, including AHMM, Carmody Groarke, Duggan Morris, Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins, and vPPR.

With fees of £6,000 a year, the new model is designed to cut the cost of architecture education and will see students spend half their time working in practice.

Students in the first year of the course will be employed by the firms for three days per week, earning a minimum salary of £12,000.

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.

Staff at the emerging school include former head of architecture at the Royal College of Art Nigel Coates, Project Orange’s James Soane, DSDHA’s Deborah Saunt, and FAT co-founder Clive Sall.  

According to Coates the school will form part of the ‘changing landscape of architectural education’.

Coates, said: ‘Exaggerated costs undermine the passion and commitment that typically develops over architecture’s five years of study.

‘As if to reverse this decline and be something of an exemplar, this new school grasps a handful of radical ideas: firstly, independence from the usual relationship with the university system; secondly, a modern and meaningful exchange with practice; and thirdly, a ‘cost-neutral’ financial model for its students.’

The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer appropriate

Terry Farrell, whose practice has teamed up to support the school, commented: ‘To widen access, we need a diverse range of different courses and training routes to be made available. The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer appropriate and risks institutionalising students at a time when we need them to interact better with a rapidly changing world.  

‘For these reasons, the arrival of the London School of Architecture on the scene is a welcome one. It addresses many issues with an innovative and distinctive approach that could offer a new and powerful way to educate architects.’

He added: ‘the LSA is an intelligent response to the changing nature of both the architectural profession and the higher education sector. Its model proposes a deep engagement with contemporary urban and architectural issues, and offers a much more affordable route to becoming an architect.’

The school, which is currently fundraising for £250,000 to support its establishment, is also applying for accreditation from the ARB.



Readers' comments (4)

  • I applaud the initiative to create a new school of architecture fit for the 21st century. The twin objectives of making architectural education more affordable and closer to practice are 'win-win' for students and the profession. Will Hunter has attracted an inspiring and influential group of architects to develop his new school and many ambitious practices I have spoken to are interested in becoming partners. I am sure the London School of Architecture will be a success. From a personal perspective, I hope the curriculum embraces the business side of architectural practice as well as design and contract management. How to start, run and grow an architectural practice is not a focus of traditional training.

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  • Finally, they are making less business of it.

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  • "Practice" needs to move closer to architectural education, not the other way around.

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  • fantastic initiative.. we've been looking at ways of doing this for a long time and welcome this and would love to be involved.
    Architectural education has long been due an overhaul to become more relevant

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