Will Hunter, the founder of architectural education disruptor the London School of Architecture (LSA), is to step down as its chief executive
Officially launched five years ago as an ’experimental Part 2-only’ school, Hunter set up the LSA to broaden access to architecture by offering work placements alongside learning, making graduates ’more employable and the course more affordable’.
It is understood the norm-challenging school, which in 2017 achieved Part 2 accreditation from the ARB and validation from the RIBA, is now looking to open its doors to Part 1 students.
Hunter will remain in the chief executive role until the end of the 2020-21 academic year, after which he will take up a new part-time role at the LSA as director of entrepreneurship.
The search for a new leader of the LSA will start this October, led by professor Robert Mull, who chairs the search committee.
Hunter told the AJ: ‘It has been the greatest privilege of my life to found the LSA. I conceived the idea in 2010, and I’m delighted that, only a decade on, my many excellent supporters, colleagues and pioneering students have succeeded in making the school into a thriving reality and force for change.
’The time has come for me to embark on new ventures where I feel I can make further impact.’
Crispin Kelly, chair of the LSA’s board of trustees said: ’The trustees salute Hunter. He came up with an idea and turned it into a living and breathing reality, a school rooted in practice that empowers its diverse students to do what he has done: to shape where and how we can all live life for the better.
Following a further year of his continued leadership of the school, we greatly look forward to continuing to collaborate with him in new ways.’
The LSA became England’s new first independent school of architecture since the Architectural Association opened in 1847.
The idea for the school evolved during Hunter’s time working on the AJ’s sister title The Architectural Review. In October 2011, the magazine launched a new think-tank called Alternative Routes for Architecture to create ‘a 21st-century apprenticeship, with a reciprocal relationship between practices and students’ to tackle a growing crisis in the funding of architectural education.
A year later, early plans to create the LSA emerged and in 2015 the new school was constituted as a charity, supported by philanthropists including Nadja Swarovski, Terry Leahy, Peter Mason and foundations including the Garfield Weston Foundation.
The school currently offers a two-year postgraduate programme validated by London Metropolitan University and supported by a network of architecture practices based in London.
The London School of Architecture show at Somerset House in 2018
Source: Valerie Bennett