School of Architecture
School of Architecture
School of Architecture
N 51° 30' 5.15'', E 51° 30' 5.15''
t: +44 20 7590 4281
Head of Programme
The School of Architecture; one of four Schools within the College is led by the Dean, Dr Adrian Lahoud, the School of Architecture offers a unique depth of study into the global, cultural context of modern sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, as a remit and broad parameter for creative design and research.
What characterises the RCA as a distinct and unique environment for architects and interior designers are the opportunities it offers to work alongside designers and fine artists in a concentrated, postgraduate-only environment. For example, Architecture and Interiors students may collaborate with students from the Schools of Design in the workshops, or participate in AcrossRCA projects, drawing upon the expertise and facilities of MA students in Vehicle Design, Fashion or Innovation Design Engineering.
Students benefit from the support of professional practitioners and from industry-funded projects that may lead to production. Individual students are assisted with bursaries and prizes related to their activities as well as sponsored internships, work placements and research projects. Student work is frequently exhibited at the RCA and in prestigious museums and galleries in London and abroad.
The largely part-time staff, including research fellows and visiting professors, are all well known in their respective fields. Active in design practice, they bring their expert knowledge of contemporary design to the School.
Our missions in Architecture
are to take a broad view and make the most of the RCA’s art and design context. At MA level we prepare students for an effective, ideas-driven approach to architecture. London is always our testing ground. We are both inspired by, and apply our ideas to, the city – combining experiment with plausibility. We tune in to its social, economic and cultural wavelength, prise open real lives and load our proposals with narrative and personality.
We are not interested in designing spaces that simply evolve the norms of style but work in a dynamic way with what happens in them. Our medium is not so much bricks and mortar but space itself; we consider the work of the architect as spanning between the hard materiality of building and the reprogramming of existing space. The pursuit of these aims in architecture makes particular sense in the broader context of the College, where the proximity of sophisticated practice across the art and design spectrum underpins a multidisciplinary view of design.
Not only do we want our students to develop original design skills, but know how to communicate them. MA students work in the context of our ten Architectural Design Studios, each of which develops an urban theme over the course of each year; MPhil and PhD students belong to our dedicated research studio and the School also offers programmes in Interior Design, City Design and Environmental Architecture.
The RCA is a small, entirely postgraduate institution set in the very centre of London.
London city centre. No residence.
Contact the school
Masters programme only
All of the College’s academic staff are practitioners in art, design or related disciplines. We also attract some of the most eminent artists, designers, intellectuals and business people working in their fields to give seminars, lectures, masterclasses, crits and individual tutorials.
The core of the learning process
lies in project-based activity. This is conducted through a unit system made up of ten Architectural Design Studios (ADSs) in which differences of opinion with respect to contemporary architectural practice serve to challenge constantly and encourage the individual approach of each student.
Each ADS has two-three dedicated tutors, an identifiable culture and way of working. In their respective ways, each challenges the role of the architect and how architectural design can embody this response in an experimental yet plausible way. The interests of the respective studios span major theoretical and practice-based aspects of architecture today.
ADS’ set particular themes for the year against which projects are developed, designed and tested. They each begin with an initial period of research, lectures, visits, etc. pertinent to the programme, followed by an opportunity for each student to select an area of work pertinent to their own concerns. Following the research period, they produce one major design for the year against which different emphasis is placed for first and second year students.
Rather than issuing students with prescriptive briefs, they are requested to formulate a precise brief of their own against which their later designs are assessed. They are expected to learn as much from each other as from the tutors themselves. To assist in this, facilities within the programme include a studio that is loosely divided into ten areas corresponding to the ten ADS. As far as possible this emulates an architectural studio environment where laptops can be used in conjunction with the specialised computer facilities on the College’s wireless network.
Students of first and second years work alongside one another. The community of students in each ADS is itself an essential structure of the learning environment. During the first year students follow the ADS programme but take their major projects along a technical path that corresponds to the ARB/RIBA Comprehensive Design Project. Effectively students in the second year have a second run at the process (usually in a different ADS) and develop their projects as a clear statement of design approach. In the form of the Thesis Project, this takes them towards the Final Examination and the graduation show.
Additional compulsory components such as Professional Practice Studies, CDP Design and Technology, together with the Cultural Context/Critical & Historical Studies lecture series (which culminates in the submission of a dissertation at the start of the second year), the Architecture lecture series, Digitally Augmented Architectures and the dissertation help introduce a richness of reference and critical debate against which project activities can spar. The Digitally Augmented Architectures component is pursued within the ADS structure and technical facilities that contribute knowledge and understanding of, and skills and abilities in, architectural computer aided design and manufacturing. The MA course culminates with the Thesis Project that draws together all components learnt over the two years.
at the RCA sets out to humanise the practices, theories and meanings of architectural design. We develop new knowledge and understanding of architecture in relation to its aesthetic, socio-cultural and political dimensions.From insides to outsides, the room to the city, the programmes’s culture spans all areas of spatial design.
We aim to enhance the understanding of architecture through multimedia links to new disciplines, technologies, materials, practices and processes. Whether as theories, designs, objects, strategies or details, we focus on invention and discovery. Through international networks and collaborations with academia and industry, our research draws across many fields; and it integrates the perception, experience and desires of inhabitants with innovations in the critical concepts, contexts, contents and consequences of architectural design.
We offer MPhil and PhD by project and thesis.