Accelerate into University!

What is Accelerate into University?Accelerate into University Workshop

Accelerate is a pioneering education and mentoring programme aimed at increasing diversity in the architecture profession. It gives students the confidence and skills needed to make strong university applications to study architecture.

For a detailed guide click here.

“Open-City's Accelerate is a vital programme for our students as most think of architecture as a 'closed' profession, which requires 'connections' in order to access. The programme has helped Abdi not only realise that he has the skills and talents needed to enter the profession, but has also been invaluable in helping to 'polish' his personal statement and portfolio.”
Anthony Fitzpatrick , Higher Education coordinator at St Paul’s Way Trust School

Who is Accelerate for?

Accelerate is for academically-able, and ambitious year 12 students, who potentially wish to pursue a career in architecture. Students must be from London state schools and from under-represented communities.  One hundred and thirty students have taken part and benefited from the programme, with 70 per cent of Accelerate participants securing conditional offers to study architecture and related subjects at universities including UCL, Cambridge and Manchester.

Hear what our current Accelerate students have to say about the programme here. 

Why Accelerate?

Accelerate is designed to encourage students from under-represented communities to pursue a career in architecture. It has been developed in direct response to requests from schools and our own research. Increasing diversity in architecture can only positively transform our bulit environment.

Who are our partners?

Accelerate was developed and established in 2012 by Open-City, in partnership with University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, and Make Architects. It is also supported by The Drapers‘ Company.

How does it work?

Accelerate provides students with:
- 1 to 1 mentoring with an architect at their London office.
- skills development workshops in a university environment.
- peer to peer learning with university students.
- an architecture project brief devised by UCL and Open-City.
- guidance workshops on portfolio production and university applications.

All Accelerate participants will also showcase their work in a exhibition held in a central London venue.

Click here to see an Accelerate workshop in action.

When is Accelerate?
The programme starts Autumn term 2016 and ends Summer term 2017

How to apply to Accelerate?

Click here to find out how to apply.

Accelerate into University Workshop

"All of it was absolutely amazing, and really made the decision that I wanted to study architecture. The best parts were working with the architects (and... meeting lovely and enthusiastic ones), especially on such a long-term basis, which is very different to work experience, and meeting other students who had the same interests. Also, the end of year presentation, and the support from the leaders was brilliant. So inspiring, thanks loads!"
Year 12 Student from Accelerate into University 2012

Open-City Arhcitecture_Make Architects

“Shazia noticeably grew in confidence during the process - as an individual and also in her design process and presentation of design work. It was certainly a valuable experience for her.”
Ann Woodhouse, Design Teacher, Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College

"Architecture is about collaboration, culture and life. Therefore it's so rewarding to see how we can enthuse young people into this world of discovery through the Accelerate into University programme; it's about awakening curiosities and interests, caring for the environment, discovering how things are made, how cities and all their known and unknown places are magical worlds to be constantly discovered.
It is so encouraging to see Bartlett volunteers and Accelerate students collaborate, inspire, enthuse and bond with each other in this fun journey of learning!"
Frosso Pimenides, ArchYear1 Director, The Bartlett, UCL


For more information, please contact Venetia Wolfenden or phone 020 3006 7008.


14 April 2016
Accelerate into University registration now open!

7-8 March 2016 
View the incredible work produced by students for the 2015-16 Accelerate Exhibition at UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture.

24 December 2013
Ken Shuttleworth becomes a mentor for Accelerate

15 August 2013
Success for Accelerate into Architecture students!


The changing face of London


Read about all our pioneering programmes designed for people to learn about and advocate for the value of good design through first-hand experience


Regular polls, surveys and research into Londoners' attitudes towards design quality and built environment issues


Find out how Open-City provides independent advice and support to communities 




Arts Council


Architects Practices participating in 2015-16:

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
David Miller Architects
Grimshaw Architects
Jerry Tate Architects
Make Architects
Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects
Squire and Partners
Stanton Williams Architects
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Urban Projects Bureau