Serie Architects has released its proposal for the Royal College of Art’s (RCA) campus in Battersea, London. Designed for the campus’ competition—which was won by Herzog & de Meuron—the 15,000-square-meter project would house the schools of architecture, material, and fine art, as well as specialist research centers and entrepreneurial incubators.
In an effort to create a spatial model that encourages collaboration across academic disciplines, the proposal centers on the idea of stacked planes, or “tables,” each of which defines a particular space, but which is not enclosed. The resulting space, through the overlapping of tables and double- and triple-height ceilings, creates an open and highly visible environment.
A single, five-story volume spanning the length of the site contains individual school programs, and research programs are stacked in a ten-story tower. Between these two spaces is a narrow set of spine-like “shelves,” which contain all shared programs like classrooms, faculty rooms, and small workshops.
All elements of the project are flexible and reconfigurable, allowing for accommodation of future changes in the school. For instance, table structures can be added and removed, and partitions in the shelves can be adjusted.
The entrance to the campus is marked along Battersea Bridge Road, in order to integrate the campus into the neighborhood and form a center for the wider community.
[The project] encapsulates the two challenges that were given to us by the RCA, said Christopher Lee, principal at Aerie Architects. Firstly, the challenge to think of an architecture whereby when a student encounters it, she will be inspired by the incredible possibilities and resources that RCA has to offer and secondly the challenge to be inventive in finding an appropriate and yet radical spatial model that will meet the demands of learning, making and researching today and the future.
News via Serie Architects.