BY SHUJAUL AZAM
Plans for a high profile arts college complex have been modified by architects to take into account the worries of residents.
Designers Herzog and de Meuron have altered the plans for the Royal College of Art (RCA) which
were lodged with Wandsworth council in October.
The £108million plans for a teaching and research centre for postgraduate students and entrepreneurs, at its Battersea campus, will help to secure the RCA’s future in Battersea they say.
The scheme delivers studios, workshops and business units. The RCA’s proposals feature new public spaces and and improved lighting.
In response to feedback, the college has also made changes to include; the ground floor window of the
research building which has been enlarged to an 8 metres long shopfront opening, allowing passers-by to see the activity inside the building; two picture windows have been added to the first floor of the research building on Parkgate Road; additional openings in the brick on the ground floor of Parkgate Road will also add more light at street level for pedestrians; a lighter brick tone, taking cue from surrounding buildings, will be used; the opening hours of the path through the complex and the new café have been extended to allow access all year round; the hangar – a large double height covered street space for exhibitions – will be opened to the public and extend access to the college’s events programme.
The new building is set back from the existing building line, for extra pavement width on Parkgate Road and Battersea Bridge Road.
Battersea Artists Quarter, a group formed to encourage local businesses to engage with the community, has welcomed the changes. Chairwoman Barbara Gorna said: “The RCA have made welcome changes after listening to the community.
“The original plan will be softened and residents will have greater access to the RCA site than before.
“We believe it is important for local institutions to actively engage within their local village, and play their part. We understand that the RCA have appointed a public engagement manager to work with residents to engage more fully within their future plans.”
Richard Benson, the RCA’s chief operating officer said: “The RCA has been committed to consulting its neighbours and working with the community and the feedback received has helped to shape the final proposals for the site.
“This new flagship building heralds an exciting phase in our 180-year history and will enable us to continue to attract the brightest talent to Battersea.”