Royal College of Art names new building to honor eminent benefactors

Royal College of Art names new building to honor eminent benefactors.

The British Royal College of Art has announced that its new applied arts building, due to open in autumn 2014, will be named ‘The Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo Applied Art Department‘ to honour the couple’s long association with the RCA.

Prominent philanthropists in Hong Kong, China and the UK, the Woos have made a substantial gift in support of the College’s Battersea capital campaign. Since the early nineties Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen have previously supported scholarships for students in the Departments of Ceramics & Glass and Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery, helping many ceramicists and glassmakers support their Masters’ studies at the RCA.

Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo’s gift supports the third phase of the Royal College of Art’s new Battersea campus, enabling the Royal College of Art to house the largest dedicated centre for postgraduate applied arts in the UK. The building is being designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects to reflect its status as a world leading centre of cross-disciplinary research, learning, and innovation which will underpin the training and development of future generations of applied artists.

It will provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art studio, technical facilities and teaching space for staff and students from Applied Arts programmes as well as researchers from across the College.

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art said: “The College is deeply grateful to Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo. Their generous support is an assertive statement of the RCA’s commitment to the field of Applied Arts - disciplines in which we excel.”

Professor Martin Smith, Head of the School of Applied Arts said: “Through their generous funding for new studios and workshops, Sir Po-Shing and Lady Helen Woo are helping maintain the RCA’s excellence in the Applied Arts and allowing us to continue to provide a world-class education for generations of students to come.”
The Woo Family commented: “We are delighted to help future generations of talented RCA students working in the Applied Arts.”
The GBP37m campaign has to date received support from the James Dyson Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and HEFCE matched funding support, which matches every GBP3 of private philanthropic support with GBP1 of public funding.
Also designed by Haworth Tompkins, the RCA’s Sackler Building in Battersea won a RIBA award in 2010. The Dyson Building opens in autumn 2012.

The Royal College of Art is the world’s most influential postgraduate university of art and design. It specialises in teaching and research and it can award the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of Fine Art, Applied Art, Design, Communications and Humanities. For more information, visit

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Authored by: Richard Lee

Richard has been traveling since he took a year off from college, where he was doing a BA in Journalism. He traveled half the world, backpacking with his girlfriend (now his wife). They spent time in South America, Asia, Greece and much of Europe. After writing about his experiences for several airline and travel magazines, he never went back to college.