Art school receives modernised facilites as part of major investment project

David Chipperfield Architects has completed a major restoration and renewal project for The Royal Academy Schools, the postgraduate art school within the Royal Academy of Arts.

Designed in collaboration with Julian Harrap Architects, the project has introduced modernised facilities while preserving the historic fabric of the buildings. This includes expanded studio spaces, new technical workshops, a library, and a student canteen.

The scheme also involved restoration of historic studios and the installation of around 150 historic casts and artworks in newly curated displays.

Eliza Bonham Carter, curator and director of the Royal Academy Schools, highlighted the renovation’s impact in terms of an improved environment for students. “The RA Schools provides a free, independent programme invested in artistic development at postgraduate level,” she said.

“A space for study and art making, committed to the questions that arise from making art now. This renovation of the RA Schools makes it fit for the years to come and provides outstanding conditions for our students.

“An art school in Burlington House on Piccadilly is the clearest possible signal of the RA’s commitment to the teaching and practice of art.”

The project was largely funded by a £10 million donation from Julia and Hans Rausing, marking the most substantial gift in the 255-year history of the RA Schools. In recognition of their contribution, the newly renovated buildings have been named The Julia and Hans Rausing Campus.

The public can explore the renovated campus during the RA Schools Show 2024, held from 14-30 June, and featuring the work of third-year students.

Project team

Architect: David Chipperfield Architects

Conservation Architect: Julian Harrap Architects

Contractor: Knight Harwood

Cost Management: Core Five

Project Management: Buro Four

Building Services: Engineers Arup

Structural Engineers: Alan Baxter Associates

Collection Display Installation: Momart

Collection Display Furniture: Adam Kershaw Ltd & Whitewall