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RCA expansion plans approved

Royal College of Art's Battersea expansion plans approved by Wandsworth Council

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | February 05, 2018 | Facilities

The Royal College of Art’s flagship new building has been granted planning permission by Wandsworth Council.

The building is part of a £108m investment programme in the RCA – the most radical transformation of the institution’s campus in its 181-year history.

The expansion of the Royal College of Art’s Battersea campus is an important step in RCA’s evolution into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics)-focused postgraduate university.

The new building will welcome Arts & Humanities programmes in Sculpture and Contemporary Art Practice, and Design programmes including Design Products, Fashion and Textiles, and Global Innovation Design and Innovation Design Engineering (delivered jointly with Imperial College London).

The new programmes will also be developed to encompass computer and material science, wearable technology, robotics, advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility.  

The creation of the new Battersea campus is a landmark moment in the history of the RCA, as we embrace new design and creative disciplines and offer our students unparalleled studio, workshop, and high-tech facilities

The new campus will house start-up businesses as part of the University's expanded InnovationRCA incubator programme, which will see the number of supported businesses double. The March 2015 report ‘Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start-Ups’, by HEFCE described the RCA as having “the highest number of student spin-outs with university ownership in recent years in the UK”. Its commercialisation incubator, InnovationRCA, has helped 75 graduates launch 50 start-ups attracting £39 million in funding from investors over the past decade. The new development will help the RCA continue to nurture creative entrepreneurs in areas such as autonomous vehicles, housing, gaming, green design and architecture and design for ageing populations.

“The creation of the new Battersea campus is a landmark moment in the history of the RCA, as we embrace new design and creative disciplines and offer our students unparalleled studio, workshop, and high-tech facilities,” said Dr Paul Thompson, Royal College of Art Vice-Chancellor.

The Battersea development is estimated to require financing of £108 million. In 2016 the Government invested £54 million. The remaining funds will be secured through a mix of philanthropic donations, and RCA investment. A comprehensive fundraising campaign, GenerationRCA, will be launched during 2018 to raise further funds for the Battersea project.

Work will begin on the site in spring 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in April 2020, with the new building opening to students for the 2020/21 academic year. 

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