We are delighted that the Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, Dr Paul Thompson will be speaking at our 'Art and Cities' forum in March. Dr Thompson is leading the development of a significant investment programme that will secure the RCA's future academic vision as well as a new state of the art building at Battersea South, delivering new studios, workshops and incubator units for business innovation.
Dr Thompson was appointed to his position at the RCA in 2009. Prior to this he was Director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York (2001 - 2009), and Director of the Design Museum in London (1993 - 2001). He is a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.
Having completed a PhD at the University of East Anglia in 1987, Paul worked as a researcher for the Design Council, then at the Design Museum, where he was Curator of Contemporary Design, then Chief Curator, before becoming the Museum's Director in 1992. During his tenure, exhibitions such as 'Charlotte Perriand: Modernist Pioneer and Modern Britain 1929 -1939', boosted visitor numbers and won critical scholarly acclaim.
The RCA is opening a new state of the art building designed by internationally acclaimed architects Herzog & de Meuron opposite its Battersea campus. A landmark for London and a new blueprint for creative education, it forms part of an ambitious programme to revitalise its buildings and educational provision.
Some 16,000 square meters of studios, workshops, labs and research centres, including a double height hangar space, will be built. Public walkways intersect the site, referencing the original Victorian street grid of this quarter of London. The headquarters of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and architects Foster & Partners are in close proximity.
Generation RCA is a five year campaign representing the most significant development its its history since the College was founded in 1837. The new academic vision focusses on three pillars: places, projects and people.
After 2021, the RCA will turn its focus to its historic site in Kensington and undertake the revitalisation of its Grade 11-listed Darwin building, opened in 1961 and designed by Sir Hugh Casson, H T Cadbury-Brown and Robert Goodden. The RCA intends to rediscover the radical nature of this exceptional building and return to the startlingly bold vision of its founders.
On projects, the RCA's academic vision is to inject key scientific disciplines into the mix of creative courses on offer. New programmes such as Environmental Architecture and Digital Direction as well as those centred on nano and soft robotics, material science and the circular economy will be available.
The RCA currently welcomes talented individuals from 76 different nationalities but now Generation RCA will establish a significant scholarship endowment fund - to be built up over generations to come - in order to ensure the most gifted students irrespective of their financial circumstances, will be able to study at the College.
To mark the launch of Generation RCA, a new film was created in collaboration with RCA alumnus Sir Ridley Scott.