The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university in London, in the United Kingdom. It offers postgraduate degrees in art and design to students from over 60 countries; it is the only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the world.:118 From 2015 onwards, the RCA has consistently placed first in the QS World University Rankings in the Art and Design subject area.
In 1896 or 1897 the school received the name Royal College of Art, and the emphasis of teaching there shifted to the practice of art and design. Teaching of graphic design, industrial design and product design began in the mid-twentieth century. The school expanded further in the 1960s, and in 1967 it received a Royal Charter which gave it the status of an independent university with the power to grant its own degrees.
The Darwin Building in Kensington Gore
In 1991 the sculpture department moved to a converted factory across the river Thames in Battersea. In the early 2000s the college conceived a substantial second campus being created on the site, with a minibus service linking it to Kensington. Thus, after a successful redevelopment of the premises by Wright & Wright (budget £4.3m, floor area 2,500 sq m), the present Sculpture Building opened in January 2009.
A masterplan was commissioned by Haworth Tompkins and phase 1 of their three phase design was completed with the opening of the Sackler Building on 19 November 2009, to house the painting department. Its name commemorates a major gift by The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.
The Dyson Building, named in honour of James Dyson, whose educational charity donated £5m to the development, was opened on 24 September 2012. It is the home for printmaking and photography, and contains an innovation wing where start-up designers can launch their businesses.
The Woo Building was opened on 30 September 2015, completing the Battersea project. It is named in honour of Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo, who have funded scholarships at the RCA since the 1990s. It accommodates the Ceramics & Glass and Jewellery & Metal programmes. The building’s anodised aluminium gates were designed by alumnus Max Lamb.
In April 2011 the RCA was ranked first on a list of UK graduate art schools compiled by Modern Painters magazine from a survey of professionals in the art world.
In August 2015 it was ranked first on a list of master’s courses in fashion by Business of Fashion, a fashion website.
In 2015 the RCA placed first in the art and design subject area in the QS World University Rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds. In 2016 and 2017 it held onto the position, increasing its overall score from 96.0/100 to 98.4/100.
Among those who studied in the predecessor schools in the nineteenth century were Sir George Clausen, Christopher Dresser, Sir Luke Fildes, Kate Greenaway, Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens.
Alumni from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries include the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, painters Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Sir Peter Blake and Charles Tunnicliffe, artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin and R. B. Kitaj, fashion designers Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes, industrial designers James Dyson and David Mellor, film directors Tony and Ridley Scott, the designer Thomas Heatherwick, prominent member of the suffragette movement Sylvia Pankhurst, the musician Ian Dury and the actor Alan Rickman.
See also: The Royal College of Art Society amalgamated with OSARCA (the Old Students Association of the RCA 1912) for the benefit of graduates and associates of the Royal College of Art
Awards and prizes