Educational Model

Organised as a living network – rather than a fixed hierarchy – the LSA forges a series of powerful relationships: between academia and practice; between architecture and other disciplines; and between the school and the city.

The LSA has a porous boundary: open to the culture of architecture (blue), intersecting fields of knowledge (purple) and the metropolis itself (yellow)
The LSA has a porous boundary: open to the culture of architecture (blue), intersecting fields of knowledge (purple) and the metropolis itself (yellow)

In the Inter-Practice Year students are employed in three-day per week, 12-month placements hosted by our Practice Network; in their other time they work on LSA projects. In the Proto-Practice Year, students are full-time with the LSA developing individual thesis design projects. The school uses the city as both its campus and testing ground, siting our investigations and projects in a different borough every year.

Our programme is validated by our Academic Partner London Metropolitan University, who award our graduates with a Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture.

Furthermore, the LSA is fully committed to being professionally recognised at Part 2 level by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The ARB has recommended prescription of our Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture, and our application has now been circulated for a three-month statutory consultation. In November 2016, the RIBA made an exploratory visit and has endorsed our readiness for a full visit in the summer of 2017, when they will review the completed work of the Second Years.

The school is confident it will shortly complete these two milestones, and that our first graduates in June 2017 will benefit from both ARB accreditation and RIBA validation.

Financial Model

Our financial model is very simple: we’ve set our fees one-third cheaper than the majority of schools, and we’ve offset them with salary from an integrated 12-month work placement

Graph produced by Professor Alex Wright for SCHOSA showing the projected effects of tuition fees of £9,000 for all five years of architectural study. It is predicted typical graduates will never pay off their student debt in their lifetime
Graph based on work by Professor Alex Wright for SCHOSA showing the projected effects of £9,000 tuition fees for five years of architectural study. The graph starts upon graduation with an indicative salary of around £25,000 and debt of around £75,000. It predicts interest rates outstripping salary increases meaning that typical graduates will never pay off their student debt

From 2016, the majority of the nation’s architecture schools will charge £9,000 per year for Part 2 courses, and students will accrue £18,000 tuition fee debt. We launched with fees one third cheaper: at £6,000 per year. Additionally, we believe we have the UK’s first ‘cost neutral’ course, as the First Year placement’s £12,000 minimum salary (£20,000 pro rata) is equivalent to the total fees for both years of study.

The LSA’s new financial model reduces the financial burden on students with the long-term ambition of widening access to architectural education.

However, currently LSA students do not have access to finance from the Student Loans Company. The school is committed to being fully recognised by the state, so that our institution is on a level playing field with universities; and – crucially – so that our students can access comparable financial support for living costs, which are particularly high in London.

Though the last government sought to create a market in education, at present it takes new courses like the LSA – even though it is already academically validated – a minimum of four years to achieve full recognition. The present government realises this is a large barrier for new providers, and its recent Green Paper sets out plans to shorten the process considerably.

However, in the meantime, to bridge this funding gap, we are fundraising to significantly expand our own bursary programme to help with student living costs. We currently have a £75,000 bursary programme. In 2016/17, we have already awarded £35,000 to students, and will award a further £20,000 in January from the Garfield Weston Foundation. We continue to fundraise and are fully committed to support the most talented students to study with us.

 

If you would like information on supporting our bursary programme, please contact our Director Will Hunter at will@the-lsa.org.