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Royal College of Art and Malcolm Reading Consultants announce Battersea South Architect shortlist

The Royal College of Art in London UK announced on 10 August the seven shortlisted architectural practices for its new state-of-the-art £108m Battersea South campus in an invited design competition.

The shortlisted practices are (in alphabetical order):

  • Christian Kerez (Switzerland)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (US)
  • Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland/UK)
  • Lacaton & Vassal (France)
  • Robbrecht en Daem architecten (Belgium)
  • Serie Architects (UK/Singapore)
  • Studio Gang (US)

Set to embark upon the most exciting phase of development in the RCA’s 179 year history as it transforms itself into a STEAM-focused graduate university, the College is seeking to expand its research and knowledge exchange centres into the domains of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, and intelligent mobility.

In doing so, the RCA will bring together the worlds of science, art, design and technology in order to create transformational impact in such areas as connected cities; robotics, the internet of things and intelligent mobility; sustainability, mass migration and city design.

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Chair of the Architectural Selection Panel (ASP) remarked:

This shortlist represents an exceptional cross-section of international talent all wanting to engage with a world class institution. The panel was particularly delighted with the range of talents and approaches, not least because the building has to reflect the radical nature, experimentation and high design standards of the world’s pre-eminent art and design university.

Professor Naren Barfield, Pro Rector of the RCA and ASP member said:”As the RCA plans to establish computer and materials science with a direct relationship to the design of products, systems, services, architecture and fine art, we were particularly keen to hear from practices that designed ‘from the inside/out’.

Dr Adrian Lahoud, Dean of Architecture and ASP member added: ”At the centre of the Battersea South vision are the practices of artists and designers. The project should support and inspire their work, offering an incredible opportunity to explore new frontiers in learning and research in art and design.

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said: ”This is a dazzling list of architectural thought-leaders who have connected with a project that will create a renewed sense of place in this part of Battersea. We very much look forward to the teams’ analyses of the brief at the second stage of the competition.

Working closely with the RCA, competition organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants developed a competitive selection model that combines an invited process for creative leadership with the selection of other professional services from the Multidisciplinary Panel, a widely-used technical framework operated by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The seven finalist teams were selected from a total of ninety-seven Expressions of Interest received from practices around the world.

The Royal College of Art expects to announce the winner in October 2016.

Nick Myall

News editor

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