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Will Hunter at the new studio at 6 Orsman Road photographed by Freddie Ardley

On his final day as chief executive, Founder Will Hunter shares a farewell message of thanks with the school, and announces three pieces of good news

Dear LSA

Today is my final day as LSA Chief Executive.

Setting up the school has been an enormous group effort, requiring the energy and resources of 100s of people. I am so grateful for all the roles you have played in pulling this off!

We were all motivated by a school whose twin aims are to widen access and diversity in the profession and to design innovations in architecture that will enable more fulfilled and sustainable lives.

Today the school has 103 students57 staff and 127 alumni. We have secured all professional body and government recognition. Our hard-won financial robustness underpins our students being able to access state financial support.

Before I depart, I am delighted to announce three pieces of fantastic news:

First, I am excited to say that the University of Liverpool is our new academic partner. London Met has been a great start-up partner, to whom we owe our thanks. To support our plans for student expansion and more national significance, we selected the northern powerhouse of Liverpool, which has just validated our MArch programme, and stands ready to validate the Part 1 programme.

Second, we have signed an amazing deal with British Land to be based at 6 Orsman Road in Hackney. This replaces our Mare Street premises, doubling the studio space, with additional break-out spaces. The highly sustainable and adaptable building has been designed by LSA founder Practice Network member Waugh Thistleton. It has an awesome rood terrace! Read the full story here.

Third, we have recruited the largest ever cohort, which will support more investment in teaching. We started in 2015/16 with some 30 students. For 2021/22, 77 students have accepted their places – 55% female and 40% black, Asian and minority ethnic – making positive steps towards meeting the 50% target by 2030.

I will be around for the coming fortnight, completing this academic year and finalising a draft of the Part 1 programme, written with Jane Tankard, ready for my successors.

There is a double issue of Citizen magazine forthcoming, edited by Peter Buchanan and Jason Sayer. The Summer Show has moved to 630pm Thursday 29 July at6 Orsman Road, which will exhibit the work of the last two graduate cohorts (as last year’s crop missed having a show).

The day before I will be giving a Farewell Lecture at 630pm Wednesday 28 July, reflecting on what has been achieved by staff and students, and followed by a conversation with James Soane. I hope to see you at both events.

I have truly bottomless gratitude to the staff, students, practices, trustees and supporters who have made the school possible.

I must reserve the highest recognition, however, for Stephanie Rice, Clive Sall, James Soane, Isabel Allen and Peter Buchanan who have been so instrumental and tireless in delivering the school, and who have been the most loyal of comrades.

On Monday, I will be handing over to the new leadership team of Neal Shasore and Samantha Hardingham, in whom I have full confidence. I wish them every success in taking the school to even greater heights.

Very best wishes