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Herzog & de Meuron lodges plans for £108m RCA expansion

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Herzog & de Meuron has submitted its plans for a £108 million extension to the Royal College of Arts’ (RCA) Battersea campus

The Swiss stars were selected for the job last November from an impressive shortlist made up almost exclusively of overseas practices, including Chicago-based Studio Gang,  Belgium firm Robbrecht en Daem, France’s Lacaton & Vassal and Christian Kerez from Switzerland. The only finalist with a UK link was London-based Serie Architects.

The invited competition, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, attracted 97 expressions.

The proposed 15,800m² building for postgraduate students and ‘entrepreneurs’ at the RCA’s Battersea South campus will replace the institution’s sculpture building and moving image studio at the corner of Howie Street and Elcho Street. 

As well as studios, workshops and incubator units, the design incorporates a café and art materials shop with ‘improved routes through the site which will all be publicly accessible’.

The scheme, behind Foster + Partners’ offices in Hester Road, will sit alongside three existing RCA buildings all by Haworth Tompkins: the Sackler, Dyson, and Woo buildings.

RCA vice-chancellor Paul Thompson said the college was ‘committed to nurturing the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

‘We are thrilled with how Herzog & de Meuron has responded to our brief to create our new centre in Battersea to embody this vision, helping us to deliver transformational experiences for our students and ensuring that the UK continues to lead the world in art and design.’

Herzog & de Meuron’s approach to the project was described by the contest jury as demonstrating ‘a deep understanding of the potential for Battersea, making new connections and foreseeing the possibilities for sustainable place-making’.

 The shortlist in full from 2016 contest

  • Christian Kerez (Switzerland)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA)
  • Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland and UK)
  • Lacaton & Vassal (France)
  • Robbrecht en Daem Aarchitecten (Belgium)
  • Serie Architects (UK and Singapore)
  • Studio Gang (USA)

Subject to planning work is expected to start on site next summer and complete by 2020.

Project data

Location: Battersea, Parkgate Road
Type of project: New Build
Client: Royal College of Art
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Landscape architect: N/A
Planning consultant: The Planning Lab
Structural engineer: Mott MacDonald
M&E consultant: Mott MacDonald
Quantity surveyor: Mott MacDonald
Planning supervisor: Mott MacDonald
Main contractor: TBC
Tender date: October 2017
Start on site date: Mid 2018
Completion date: September 2020
Contract duration: 18 Months
Gross internal floor area: 15,800m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: 2-Stage Design & Build
Total construction cost: £55 million

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Richard Saxon

    as a neighbour, I cant see how the 19 bus service can continue to start from here. It currently moves down the street which is shown narrowed and tree-lined. The 19 is the key service for the area, including the RCA. What's the plan?

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