Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Royal College of Art campus in Battersea delivers a formula for education, research, and entrepreneurship that explores the creative possibilities at the intersection of science, the arts, and design.
The site occupies the urban block to the south of the existing RCA Battersea buildings within the Battersea Creative Quarter.
The project delivers 15,500 sqm of workshop, studio, and research space; it is composed of a ground floor base of workshops and manufacturing facilities supporting a low-rise 4-storey Studio Building along Howie Street, and a taller 8-story Research Building prominently located along Parkgate Road.
Howie Street will become the main thoroughfare for the combined RCA Battersea Campus.
The textured brickwork and large, north-facing clerestory lights of the workshop and studio building present a unique yet contextual profile to Battersea Bridge Road; the metal fins of the Research Building offer a distinct skyline identity for the campus.
Workshop spaces are arranged as a series of interconnected volumes, over which the upper studio spaces span and overhang, and incorporate the entrances to the studio and research spaces.
The street-level arrangement of volumes forms a passageway that connects the existing RCA buildings along Howie Street and allows for views through the site and large picture windows provides visual connections to the workshops.
The overhanging volume of the studio levels above provides covered walkways and sheltered seating areas at street level, as well as balconies and terraces above.
A portion of the previously closed-off Radstock Street is incorporated into the ground floor; upper studio floors span across this space to create a double-height “Hangar” – a flexible zone for the production and display of large-scale work that is also spacious enough to host RCA assemblies and events.
This space can also be opened to the public, creating another thoroughfare from Howie Street to the main reception area of campus.
The studio floors provide a series of three terraced floor plates, each comprising approximately 2000 sqm of high-quality workspace.
These spaces contain a flexible infrastructure that can be adapted to a range of RCA programs.
In addition to the essential qualities of natural light and air supplying the indoor studios, the concrete floor plates extend to form cantilevering external galleries, providing shade and natural ventilation, and an immediate connection to the outdoors for those working within.
The Research Building is organized above the ground floor workshops as a cubic stack of seven 560 sqm floorplates.
Sharing the principles of the studio floors, each space is a flexible research unit equipped with provisional laboratory space.
It departs from the masonry language with a vertical composition of sinuous white fins, calibrated across the façade to moderate solar gain and glare, and facilitate natural ventilation to the workspaces within.
Project: The Royal College of Arts – Battersea Campus
Architects: Herzog & de Meuron
Client: The Royal College of Arts- RCA
Photographers: Iwan Baan