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Herzog & de Meuron wins planning for £108m RCA expansion

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Herzog & de Meuron has won the go-ahead for its £108 million extension to the Royal College of Art’s Battersea campus

The Swiss stars were selected for the job in late 2016 from an impressive shortlist made up almost exclusively of overseas practices, including Chicago-based Studio Gang, Belgian 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 of interest.

The 15,000m² 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 RCA buildings by Haworth Tompkins: the Sackler, Dyson and Woo buildings.

RCA vice-chancellor Paul Thompson described the creation of the new Battersea campus as ‘a landmark moment in the history of the RCA’ and said the scheme would offer ‘unparalleled studio, workshop and high-tech facilities’ for its students.

He said: ’[We] are delighted by the support we have received from both local and central government in helping us realise an entirely new type of art and design university which will contribute to the developing cultural quarter in Battersea.’

Herzog & de Meuron senior partner Ascan Mergenthaler said: ‘Workshops are the nucleus of the college and of the new campus extension. Our design is rooted in the surrounding townscape – it is simple, robust and flexible, and delivers a formula for the transforming dynamic of the RCA.’

Work is expected to start on site this summer and complete by 2020.

Project data

Location Battersea, Parkgate Road
Client Royal College of Art
Architect Herzog & de Meuron
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 Mid 2018
Completion date September 2020
Contract duration 18 Months
Gross internal floor area 15,800m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Two-stage Design and Build
Construction cost £55 million

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