Significantly expanding the Ceramics & Glass and Jewellery & Metal departments, the opening of the Woo Building marks the completion of RCA’s Battersea Campus
Completed by Haworth Tompkins, the same firm behind other campus buildings: Dyson and Sackler, the Woo Building is named in honour of Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo of Hong Kong, who have a long-established relationship with the College, having funded scholarships for ceramics, glass, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery students since the early 1990s.
The design of the new building mirrors the factory-inspired Dyson Building, with a triple-height, glazed central hall accommodating specialist equipment alongside spacious workshops, while studios, offices and common spaces are housed on the three floors above. The firm worked closely with academics, technicians and students to consider every design aspect from a user’s point of view, and thus incorporated features such as large glass doors that open freely surrounding the glass furnace workshop, allowing students to step outside to cool down.
A new ceramics laboratory that is unique to the RCA has been installed with a state-of-the-art kiln room containing kilns for a wide range of activities from large-scale sculpture to small gas fired kilns for test and research work. Flooded with natural light from overhead skylights and windows, the Jewellery & Metal programme is housed on the top two floors of the new building.
Unlike the Ceramics & Glass workshops, which allow students to weave through openly, the Jewellery & Metal workshops are housed in clearly defined spaces as many of the making processes are incompatible and need to be contained.
By enabling students from different specialities to work in close proximity with one another, it is hoped that a deeper collaboration between programmes will be formed.