Royal College of Art, Battersea

Evident enthusiasm and synergy between architect and client

Credit: Philip Vile

Haworth Tompkins for Royal College of Art

Contract value: £22m

GIA: 7,512m2


The enthusiasm and synergy between architect and client was evident as soon as the judges crossed the threshold. The Royal College of Art wants its Battersea campus to help students be innovative and creative in printmaking, photography, metalwork and ceramics and glass. The building is conceived as a creative ‘factory’ in the industrial sense (a place of industry), and through reference to Andy Warhol’s Factory (a place of art production). It is arranged as two parallel blocks with a central top lit ‘machine hall’ between.

  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile
  • Credit: Philip Vile

Built on the site of a bus garage, the complex building carefully moulds to the constraints of the site, acknowledges the past grain, frames a beautiful view to Battersea Bridge and accommodates an industrious hive of creativity and learning. Open and visual connections respond clearly to the programmes to create a ‘horizontal drift’ between the disciplines – a physical manifestation of the interdisciplinary thinking. 

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