History

The article in the October 2012 edition of The Architectural Review by Will Hunter that launched the think tank Alternative Routes for Architecture (ARFA). The article carries a recent from-page story from the Evening Standard declaring: 'A degree in architecture and all I can get are menial jobs'
In the October 2012 edition of The Architectural Review, Will Hunter launched the think tank Alternative Routes for Architecture (ARFA), illustrated with a recent front-page story from the Evening Standard declaring: ‘A degree in architecture and all I can get are menial jobs’

From the outset, we have been a different type of educational enterprise from the majority of schools. We have grown from the bottom up. In 2012, Founder Will Hunter wrote an article called Alternative Routes for Architecture in the October edition of The Architectural Review (AR), in which he launched a think tank under the same name (abbreviated to ARFA) with the purpose of exploring new models of architectural education. A constellation of like-minded collaborators – and one or two critical voices – emerged to shape the project’s evolution.

A year later, Will published another piece in the October 2013 edition of the AR, which unveiled the London School of Architecture as an outline concept and sought architects to join in. Many made contact and a well-attended launch party was held at the Architecture Foundation in Southwark in November 2013. The following spring, the LSA sought formal Expressions of Interest to join its network; and to date some 100 of London’s leading and most interesting practitioners have signed up.

 

Elsie Owusu, Nigel Coates, Will Hunter, Clive Sall and Deborah Saunt (Picture: Matt Writtle, Evening Standard)
In March 2015, the Evening Standard launched the London School of Architecture as we opened for applications. Pictured are some of the LSA team: Elsie Owusu, Nigel Coates, Will Hunter, Clive Sall and Deborah Saunt

The LSA has been widely reported in industry titles and other media, including Archdaily, Dezeen, Archinect, the Architects’ Journal, Building DesignIcon, the Evening Standard, the Guardian and the Observer. In Uncube, Ellie Duffy wrote: ‘It is hoped the LSA will ensure that the UK architectural profession retains access to the widest pool of talent.’ The Royal Institute of British Architects welcomed the launch of the LSA, while the leader in BD said that ‘it deserves the profession’s full support’.

Opening in October 2015, we have covered significant ground during the first two years of operation. We’ve had over 500 applications and enrolled 98 talented, trailblazing students. We’ve raised some £430,000 in funds and secured full recognition at Part 2 level from the Architects Registration Board and the Royal Institute of British Architects. And, in June 2017, we produced our first graduates, who exhibited their work at Somerset House.

‘The founding principles of the LSA are quite revolutionary,’ wrote Emma Le Leslé in a review in Icon magazine; ‘the simple fact that the school grew from one article to a recognised institution in the span of five years is incredible’.

Our first graduates showed their work at London Tomorrow, an exhibition at Somerset House supported by Swarovski

Milestones

  • November 2010 – British Government announces tuition fees will rise to £9,000/year from 2012, prompting thoughts about a new school of architecture that balances fees and placement salaries
  • October 2012 – Alternative Routes for Architecture (ARFA) launches in The Architectural Review as a think tank to explore alternative models of architectural education as tuition fees go up to £9,000 for undergraduate architecture courses
  • October 2013 – The Architectural Review unveils the London School of Architecture (LSA) in outline, announcing key faculty and launching the LSA website
  • November 2013 – The Architecture Foundation hosts launch party
  • March 2014 – The LSA seeks formal Expressions of Interest to join its Practice Network
  • January 2015 – The LSA becomes a registered charity
  • March 2015 – The Evening Standard announces that the LSA has opened for applications for its postgraduate programme
  • September 2015 – London Metropolitan University completes its validation of the Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture
  • October 2015 – The LSA opens with 30 students, as it reaches its £250,000 core funding target and submits its full application for recognition to the Architects Registration Board
  • July 2016 – The LSA completes its first year, and all the students pass the academic programme
  • October 2016 – In its second year, the school adds a further 30 students as we move into Somerset House and join Makerversity
  • May 2017 – The ARB prescribes the Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture at Part 2 level
  • June 2017 – The LSA produces its first graduates, who all achieve a merit or distinction. They stage an exhibition of their work, London Tomorrow, at Somerset House
  • July 2017 – The Royal Institute of British Architects completes a two-day visit to the school and validates the Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture at Part 2 level
  • October 2017 – 37 students join our third cohort
  • November 2017 – Following a higher education review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the LSA is judged to meet all four parts of the UK Quality Code
  • March 2018 – London Metropolitan University validates the LSA’s Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture for five years
  • August 2018 – LSA students now eligible for Student Finance through the Student Loans Company
  • October 2018 – The LSA moves into its new premises, 141A Mare Street

Founders

Launching the London School of Architecture would not have be possible without the generous commitment of our Founders. We are extremely grateful for the early and continuing support of:

Founding Patrons
Niall Hobhouse
Crispin Kelly
Sir Terry Leahy
Nadja Swarovski


Founding Practices
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Grimshaw
Idom
Orms
PDP London
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Scott Brownrigg
Allies and Morrison


Founding Partners
Stanhope
Savills


Founding Benefactors
Richard Collins
Martin Halusa
Sir Peter Mason
Davina Mallinckrodt

Foundations
The Schroder Foundation
Garfield Weston Foundation

 

If you would like more information on how you may be able to support the school during the next phase of its foundation period, please contact our Director Will Hunter on will@the-lsa.org. The London School of Architecture is a charity registered in England and Wales with registered number 1159927

Supporters

Since 2012, the development of the school has benefited from the input of a wide range of enthusiastic advisers, consultants, advocates and friends to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude: Aman Saundh, Barbara Ann Campbell-Lange, Ben Hayes, Charlotte Skene Catling, Eleanor Hill, Hannah Vowles, Isabel Allen, James Gare, Jane Wentworth, Joseph Deane, Katharine Heron, Lucy Musgrave, Matt Gaskin, Matthew Barac, Matthew Springett, Nadine Coetzee, Niall McLaughlin, Rhys Williams, Roz Barr, Sarah Ichioka, Simon Esterson, Stroud Cornock, Susannah Hagan, Theo Games Petrohilos and Tom Leahy.