Taught course

Architecture Summer School

Royal College of Art · School of Architecture
Certificate of Participation

Entry requirements

Admission criteria

Participants must:

  • have an undergraduate degree in design or a demonstrably creative background
  • have a good level of English language
  • be 18 years or over.

Months of entry


Course content

Course overview

An intense and immersive design experience at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture.

The School of Architecture Summer School offers a challenging and engaging programme of design studio experience, visits, lectures and skills training.

This five-day short course is ideal preparation for Master’s study and will give participants an opportunity to experience the environment and methodologies of architectural design studies at the Royal College of Art while preparing material that can contribute to a design portfolio. Focused around a spatial design project, students will work individually and in groups on design proposals.

The course brings together theoretical reflection and production, pushing participants to develop their skills and to generate conceptual and physical products of the highest standard for their portfolio.

The Summer School is an intensive course, supported by expert staff with opportunities for individual work and collaborative projects. Projects are supported by Royal College of Art staff and external contributors with a varied range of expertise.

Based at our Kensington campus, visits to a variety of architectural sites around London will enable the studio to use the city as its testing ground.

More information about external guest speakers will be confirmed in 2021.

What will I learn?

You will:

  • learn through individual and group tutorials, discussions, presentations and crits
  • experience studio teaching supported by site visits, lectures and seminars
  • engage with workshops in making or drawing skills, as appropriate to the brief
  • benefit from an individual portfolio review.

How will I learn?

Learning takes place in groups of up to 25 participants. You will:

  • experience the RCA model of studio teaching and practice to develop design and presentation techniques while building a portfolio
  • work collaboratively with a diverse range of colleagues from varied backgrounds, honing teamwork and leadership skills
  • work with leading design practitioners and educators to develop a critical, creative and insightful practice.

Course outcomes:

You will:

  • learn methods and techniques to develop a spatial project and produce a supporting narrative
  • deepen conceptual and critical thinking skills
  • acquire representation techniques in relation to a design proposal
  • improve your verbal presentation skills
  • develop and receive feedback on a portfolio.

Who should attend?

The Summer School is open to anyone interested in preparing for Master’s-level studies in spatial design.

The course would benefit people with some experience of a design discipline (perhaps at undergraduate or recently graduated level).

The course will also be useful to participants joining programmes in the School of Architecture or those considering studying at the Royal College of Art in the future.

Programme team

The programme is convened by Douglas Murphy. Douglas is a visiting lecturer on the Architecture programme at the Royal College of Art. He is the author of the acclaimed books Last Futures (Verso, 2016), a cultural history of the radical architecture of the 1960s and ’70s, and The Architecture of Failure (Zero, 2012), which tells the story of nineteenth-century iron and glass architecture and its long influence on modernist culture. He is currently working on Nincompoopolis, about the architecture of Boris Johnson’s London, published by Repeater in 2017.

Alongside Douglas, the course will be delivered by staff from the School of Architecture across the MA Architecture, MA Interior Design, MA City Design, MA Environmental Architecture, MRes Architecture and PhD programmes.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Certificate of Participation
    part time
    1 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

RCA Short Courses