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 Practice Network; in just under 10 years that network has grown to represent some 200 practices operating in Greater London.
The LSA has been widely reported in industry titles and other media, including Archdaily, Dezeen, Archinect, the Architects’ Journal, Building Design, Icon, 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’.
‘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’. You can learn more about our history from our Founder, Will Hunter here.
The LSA opened in October 2015, and this year we welcomed our eighth cohort of Part 2 students. Some 350 students have come through our doors in the past 7 years, and we’re proud of our 100% employment record. We have secured full recognition from the Architects Registration Board and Royal Institute of British Architects.
In June 2021, Will Hunter was succeeded as Head of School/Chief Executive by Dr Neal Shasore. Samantha Hardingham was appointed Academic Director, and the LSA established a new Academic Partnership with the University of Liverpool, creating a link between the newest independent architecture school, and the oldest university department of architecture, in the country.
In December 2022, we will unveil a new strategy for the LSA – maintaining and improving our Part 2 while reconnecting with our radical foundational mission, taking advantage of the opportunities our fast-changing world offers, redoubling our commitment to access, equity and an architectural education that can contribute to the multiple, intersecting crises humanity and the planet face. The school’s new vision has been lauded by Dezeen, the Architects’ Journal and Building Design, and you can read more about our plans here.