Alex de Rijke, Royal College of Art dean of architecture
Students demand meeting with dean Alex de Rijke over Charles Walker’s comments
Architecture students at the Royal College of Art are demanding a meeting with Alex de Rijke because of worries about the school’s new head of architecture Charles Walker.
The Canadian-born architect and structural engineer is due to start his three-day-a-week role in September.
Last week, along with Ab Rogers, the school’s new head of interior design, he shared a platform with de Rijke, the dean of the school, to spell out his vision for studies to around 100 students.
But students have told BD they are worried that he wants to abolish the studio system where students are taught in groups under studio tutors. One said: “He made some comments about theory being dead and when he was questioned later he couldn’t back up what he was saying. We’re just worried about his capability.”
In a statement, students said: “The student body is deeply concerned about the new head of architecture and the trajectory of the MA Architecture programme.
“We will be issuing a letter of concern that we hope will open a dialogue with the dean and the college.”
An RCA spokeswoman said it needed to find out more about the students’ concerns before it could comment further.
Last week BD reported that engineer Mark Whitby had forced the RCA into a climbdown over claims Walker made concerning his role in designing a bridge in Manchester when he was at Whitbybird.
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