Accelerate into University!

This pioneering access programme for students in Year 12 at London state schools, is aimed at those who would benefit from mentoring and skills enhancement to support their ambitions to pursue a career in the built environment.

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 they have the skills and talents needed to enter the profession, but has also been invaluable in helping to 'polish' his personal statement and portfolio. Above all, we are so grateful that he has been given the opportunity to do work experience with and has been mentored by experienced professionals. Anthony Fitzpatrick , Higher Education coordinator at St Paul’s Way Trust School

Accelerate into University WorkshopNow in its third year, Accelerate into University, Open-City’s pioneering mentoring and widening participation programme in partnership with Make Architects and UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, is engaged with over thirty 16-17 year olds from across London, and our most diverse group to date.
Architects from ten top practices are currently mentoring the students through the most challenging project brief so far, aimed to develop the key skills required for entry to higher education architecture courses.

So far Accelerate into University has enabled eighty eight, young Londoners aged 15-17 years to reach their full potential and improve their access to Higher Education across the Built Environment shaping professions; and we are proud that 85% of the year 12's that participated in 2012 gained conditional offers to study architecture and related subjects at university, including UCL, Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester and Westminster.

Students benefit from:

  • 1 to 1 mentoring with a designated, trained industry professional at their London based office
  • Peer to peer learning with undergraduate students
  • Skills development workshops in an university environment
  • Portfolio production and university entrance guidance workshops
  • Exhibition of work created during the programme at a central London location.

Skills and knowledge students will develop during the programme:

  • Gain an insight into built environment careers
  • Develop the core skills (critical thinking, drawing and model making) and soft skills (communication and confidence) required for entry to Higher Education built environment courses.
  • Gain specific advice and therefore confidence regarding access to built environment Higher Education courses and careers

Skills development workshop at UCL's Bartlett School of ArchitectureAccelerateIntoUniversity from Open-City Architecture on Vimeo.

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.


3 July 2014
View the incredible work produced by students for the 2013-14 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