Interior Architecture

Graduate

  • MA / MDes | 1-year+ and 2-year+ programs

    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.

  • Inspiring Community

    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.

  • Learning Environment

    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.

  • Markus Berger | graduate program director

    “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.”

  • Curriculum

    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. 

    MDes program | first year

    • Summer
    • On-campus Summer Program
    • IDS 1: Spatial Investigation/Drawing & Making
    • IDS 1: Existing Construct
    • IDS 1: Transformation and Intervention
    • Fall
    • Intro to Design Studio II
    • Structures and Materials for Adaptive Reuse
    • Advanced Drawing and Computing Tectonics
    • History of Adaptive Reuse
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Advanced Design Studio
    • Energy and Systems
    • Theory Seminar: Investigating Interiority
    • Spatial Perception: Light & Color 
     

    MDes program | second year

    • Fall
    • Advanced Design Studio
    • Human Factors, Ergonomics and Acoustics
    • Open elective
    • Design thesis preparation
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Design Thesis Studio
    • Theory of Adaptive Reuse
    • Codes and Details
     

    MA program

    • Summer
    • Summer Studio in Scandinavia
    • Scandinavian Design & Architecture
    • Fall
    • Advanced Design Studio
    • Applied Building Systems for Adaptive Reuse
    • Theory of Adaptive Reuse
    • Graduate elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Principles of Adaptive Reuse
    • Adaptive Reuse Design Studio
    • Graduate Adaptive Reuse Seminar
    • Special Topics in Adaptive Reuse
     

  • Degree Projects

    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.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. academic transcripts
    3. letters of recommendation (3)
    4. portfolio of work
    5. statement of purpose
    6. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)

    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.