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RCA Sackler Building / Haworth Tompkins

  • Architects: Haworth Tompkins
  • Location: London, UK
  • Architects: Haworth Tompkins Limited
  • Project Team: Graham Haworth, Chris Fellner, Roger Watts and David Lyndon
  • Structural Engineer: Price and Myers LLP
  • Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
  • M&E Consultant & Lighting: Max Fordham Consulting Engineers
  • Client: The Royal College of Art
  • Main Contractor: LIFE Build Solutions Limited
  • Budget: £2,963,138
  • Area: 1280.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Helene Binet, Philip Vile

© Helene Binet © Philip Vile © Philip Vile © Philip Vile

From the architect. The new Sackler Building provides new purpose made accommodation for all the Painting students at the Royal College of Art to work together under one roof for the first time in over 10 years.

© Philip Vile
© Philip Vile

From the very first conversations the aim was to create contemporary purpose built spaces that matched the quality and character of the very best traditional painting studios in London, such as the generous Victorian studios at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) or the inspirational spaces by Sydney Smirke and Norman Shaw at the Royal Academy.

© Philip Vile
© Philip Vile

The Sackler Building is the first phase of the RCA’s plan for a major new campus in Battersea, also designed by Haworth Tompkins. The campus will eventually house the Schools of Fine Art and Applied Art, and also provide accommodation for start-up units for new businesses in the fields of art and design as well as a gallery and 220 seat lecture theatre. The second phase for the Departments of Printmaking and Photography, adjacent to the new Painting Department will start on site in January 2010.

© Helene Binet
© Helene Binet

The Sackler Building was always conceived as a conversion; the old building - a single story factory - has been transformed into a series of new day lit spaces under a dramatic new roof form, by inserting a new independent steel structure within the existing brick enclosure. This has significantly increased the height of the building, providing several double height, 7m high studios along with a mezzanine level, which houses a number of smaller top lit, 3.5m high studios, whilst retaining a predominantly open plan environment.

© Helene Binet
© Helene Binet

The organization of the studios off a generous corridor, is a traditional art school plan arrangement and echoes the typology of both the Royal Academy and V&A where this device provides a social space and temporary exhibition venue, a space that everyone moves through past the work of other students, past and present.

© Philip Vile
© Philip Vile
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"RCA Sackler Building / Haworth Tompkins" 11 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/43211/rca-sackler-building-haworth-tompkins/>