dRMM director Alex de Rijke will lead the new and enlarged School of Architecture

The Royal College of Art has appointed professor Alex de Rijke as dean of the School of Architecture. He will take up the position in January 2012.

De Rijke will be responsible for developing an enlarged School of Architecture with two new programmes – a one-year MArch course and a Master’s in Interiors, both of which will begin in Autumn 2012.

He said: “Having always regarded education as a parallel discipline to practice, I will continue as director of dRMM Architects while developing a new course for the RCA, one which repositions future architects as the most highly skilled prime movers in the currently deregulated and debased market for building design and procurement.

“I am proposing that architecture and interiors at the new school are studied in the global context of new sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, as a remit and broad parameter for creative study and research.

“Together with developed workshop and studio connections to facilitate 1:1 prototyping, we will build a momentum that will make the new RCA School of Architecture become the postgraduate school that defines architecture as ‘useful art’.”

He will also lead the current Master’s in Architecture (RIBA Part II) programme, formerly led by Nigel Coates who left the College in July 2011.

De Rijke is a founding director of the architectural practice dRMM, whose work is well known for innovative construction technologies and materials. His  most inventive design is his much-lauded Sliding House, created for a private client in 2009, which won an RIBA Award and both Grand Designs ‘Best new building’ and overall ‘Best house’ categories.

He has taught most recently at London’s Architectural Association, the Aalto University in Helsinki and the School of Architecture in Düsseldorf.

Dr Paul Thompson, rector of the RCA, said: “Alex will create a unique Architecture School focusing on theory and practice. With an emphasis on making and materials, I know he will exploit the excellent technical facilities of the RCA.

“What makes his appointment as dean so exciting is the freshness of his vision: he is driven by a strong ethical and values-based agenda, with a radical desire to change both the educational model of architecture and also the profession. His vision accords entirely with the charter and mission of the RCA – an institution committed to thinking through making.”