Reuse, Re-Design & Rethink: RISD’s Interior Architecture Department | New


This position is brought to you by the RISD Interior Architecture Department

At the crossroads of architecture, conservation and design, RISD’s Interior Architecture department takes an innovative approach to the reuse and transformation of existing buildings. Advanced design studios with a focus on adaptive reuse are at the heart of undergraduate and graduate programs. And unlike the fields of interior design and decoration, interior design is less concerned with the application of surface materials than with understanding the design of buildings from the inside out. ‘outside.

In the studio, students use digital and manual means to research and recommend design changes and renovations that breathe new life into existing buildings. The studios focus on a wide range of approaches, from home design to commercial design to theater / production design to preservation and curatorial issues.

“The students in our department are engaged in a rich and broad discipline focused on the reuse and transformation of existing structures,” explains department head Liliane Wong. “Across a wide range of designs in the built environment, this exploration includes interior interventions, architectural additions and renovations, installations, exhibition designs, urban transformations and community engagement – using reuse. adaptive as the main tool. “

“An end-of-life building faces three possibilities,” adds Markus Berger, director of the graduate program, “demolition, preservation or adaptive reuse. Our program has been focused on adaptive reuse since 1947, when architect / designer Ernst Lichtblau (a student of Otto Wagner) took over as head of the department and basically started RISD’s interior design program. The department has since become a leader in adaptive reuse and interior studies and began publishing the Int | AR Journal on Interventions and Adaptive Reuse in 2009.

Like the Interior Architecture department itself, Int | AR focuses on issues of preservation, transformation, alteration and interventions in the fields of architecture, interior studies and practices, but also in the fields of urban and landscaping. It also highlights their repercussions in the history and theory of architecture, town planning, art and design.

The department offers 3 individually different graduate programs:

MA in Adaptive Reuse

This program provides unique specialized design training on the subject of adaptive reuse as a post-professional study to a first degree in architecture. The program aims to establish a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for the study of adaptive reuse, so that graduate students are properly equipped to engage in the practice of working with existing buildings, structures and spaces. It allows students to develop strategies in their work that recognize the importance of social and environmental responsibility.

INTERIOR STUDIES in Adaptive Reuse

The 2+ year Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies [Adaptive Reuse] provides uniquely designed education on altering existing structures through interior interventions and adaptive reuse. The program establishes a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for the study of interior studies and adaptive reuse. Graduate students are properly equipped to engage in this subject in the field of general design and to develop strategies in their work that recognize the importance of social and environmental responsibility.

INTERIOR STUDIES in exhibition and narrative environments

The study of exhibition and narrative environments has been part of our departmental studio offers for many years. Our department has hosted annual narrative environment design specific studios that have featured collaborations with key members of the RISD Museum, the RISD Department of Graphic Design and Brown University, in particular, the Haffenreffer Museum and the John Nicholas Brown. Center. The new option Exhibition and Narrative Environments consists of an MDes curriculum supported by courses offered in these other disciplines, formalizing the existing relationships with these departments.

Students who graduate from the program take their work to the next level. The culmination of each graduate student’s work in the department is their design thesis, an opportunity to synthesize the accumulated knowledge on design, reuse, and preservation issues and to formulate and test a design hypothesis through a design project. self-created design. Students develop a proposal that describes their design intention, the nature of the proposed investigation, a design program, and an existing project site through which their design intervention is executed.

RISD alumni of interior design find satisfying creative work around the world. Some are starting their own residential and / or commercial interior design practices, while others are joining larger established companies or smaller studios. In addition to practicing as interior designers, alumni have also established themselves professionally as sustainability specialists, set designers, educators, exhibition designers, fine artists and more.

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