Interior Architecture offers two degree options at the graduate level: a Master of Arts (MA) in Interior Architecture and a Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies (Adaptive Reuse). Both programs take an innovative and progressive approach to addressing design issues intrinsic to the reuse and transformation of existing structures. US News & World Report and Design Intelligence have both ranked RISD’s Interior Architecture programs among the top in the country.
Approximately 45 graduate students and 55 undergraduates are pursuing degrees in the Interior Architecture department, working together in the Angelo Donghia Studio for Interior Architecture on the fifth floor of RISD's Center for Integrative Technologies. Students come from around the world and work with more than 25 full- and part-time faculty members who practice internationally and were educated in Germany, Portugal, Canada, the US and elsewhere. This lends the department has a very global, cosmopolitan feel and allows for especially fruitful collaborations and critical exchange.
Design studios are at the heart of both the MA and MDes programs, with seminars and research-based practice also enabling students to hone their theoretical and design skills and understanding of relevant technologies. For those who have earned a BArch or first professional degree in Architecture, the MA program provides a specialized post-professional education centered on adaptive reuse. It equips graduates to engage in the practice of adaptive reuse and incorporate strategies that emphasize social and environmental responsibility. For students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than architecture, the MDes program provides a unique design education on the alteration of existing structures through interior interventions and adaptive reuse, outside the confines of professional architectural licensure.
Yuki Kawae MIA 2013
Yi Zhou MDes 2013
Yeison Alarcon MDes 2012
Tamar Petersen MDes 2013
Sui Park MDes 2013
Jason Van Yperen MA 2012
Cyndia Hsu MIA 2011
Caitlin Santone MIA 2011
Amy Selvaggio MIA 2013
Aarti Karthuria Srikirti Sreedhar MIA 2012
Kon Jang MIA 2012
“The practice of adaptive reuse has existed for centuries, but has gained new vigor given a recent focus on sustainability. Our approach is rich and varied and includes not only the reuse of existing structures but also the reuse of materials, transformative interventions, the continuation of cultural phenomena through built infrastructure, connections across the fabric of time and space, and the preservation of memory – all of which result in densely woven narratives of the built environment with adaptive reuse as their tool.”
The MDes program involves a sequence of five design studios and core support courses designed to provide the requisite knowledge and understanding of design and its implementation so that graduates may practice as socially and environmentally responsible designers with a specialized knowledge and understanding of adaptive reuse. In the MA program, an intensive summer immersion is followed by one full year of study that culminates in a self-directed final project.
Each MA candidate produces a final project that begins with a research component in the fall and evolves into a studio/design project in the spring. MDes candidates demonstrate competency through self-directed Degree Projects that include a seminar on theory, a research component and a studio component. Each DP focuses on the transformation of an existing structure of their choice in the city of Providence. All MA and MDes candidates also participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held in the Rhode Island Convention Center.
The faculty selection committee in Interior Architecture looks for evidence of the ability and preparedness to undertake graduate-level work. Portfolios should be professionally presented using only the highest quality representation of work that best represents the breadth and depth of your design and creative thinking abilities.
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