Accelerate in more detail


Accelerate into University embodies the essence of Open City’s outward looking ambition: we want more Londoners, from all backgrounds, to participate in the design, development and care of the city’s built environment.

Each year students take part in the following workshops;

Sensory Sketching

Students are taken on a sketching tour of the impressive buildings and spaces between the Bartlett and Kings Cross including the British Library, St Pancras Hotel and Granary Square.

Mapping Movement

Students visit a public building to explore space and practice recording movement and mapping space in crowded spaces.

Scale Translation

Students practice measuring and model- making to scale
. During this workshop students record the spatial nature of the Brunswick Centre, mapping it with perspective drawings and site measurements. Students also develop their model making skills through experimenting with scoring and mark-making techniques to create 3D forms. Students then apply their new skills to transform their site observations into scale drawings and site models.

Close Looking

Students focus on recording and exploring pattern, texture and detail
. During this workshop students sketch details from the Bartlett’s First Year installation project and architectural details in buildings around Huntley Street. Students then experiment with scale and different medias including string, copper tape and paint to create collaborative paintings that celebrate geometry, materiality and scale.

Through the Lens

Students capturing the story of buildings with photography. During this workshop students explore the UCL SOAS campus and experiment with techniques for capturing the essence of a building with a camera, considering different angles and details. Students also practice using SLR cameras with shift lenses and practice photographing architectural models.


Students undergo personal critiques with their mentors and curate a portfolio piece. During their final workshop students lay out all of their sketches, models, diagrams and photographs, and with the help of Bartlett students they curate their final A1 exhibition boards to tell the story of their personal Accelerate learning journey.

Mentor Training

Every year, from November to March, students are partnered with architects from top London practices. Mentees take part in six mentoring sessions with their mentoring architects. The mentors set out their lesson plans for the sessions, approved by Open City to ensure that they covere a wide range of activities in and out of their studios. These include:

Exploring local 
buildings and spaces
, introducing CAD and
 hand drawing techniques
 and terminology,  testing out 3D modelling
, encouraging 
mentees to discuss their work and share ideas

Each year the growth in the mentees’ knowledge and confidence by the end of the programme is captured in their end of year exhibition.

Mentoring practices in 2018’s Accelerate programme included the following;

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Cullinan Studio, Grimshaw, Jestico + Whiles, Lipton Plant Architects, Rogers
Stirk Harbour + Partners, Sheppard Robson, Squire & Partners, Stephen Taylor Architects, Wilkinson Eyre

Exhibition and UCAS application workshop

Every year the student’s work and accomplishments are captured and celebrated in an exhibition at The Bartlett School of Architecture.

In the exhibition each student displays an A1 board explaining their projects and Accelerate Journey.

The programme then ends with a workshop exploring top tips on how to write successful personal statements for UCAS university applications. During the workshop student also learn about the range of architecture courses available at universities across the UK and receive career advice from professionals working in different sectors of the built environment including engineering, landscaping and master-planning.