Re-use, Re-Design & Re-think: RISD’s Interior Architecture Department

Dec 29, 2016

At the intersection of architecture, conservation and design, Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) Interior Architecture department takes an innovative approach to the “reuse and transformation of existing structures”, says Department Head Liliane Wong. Following this approach, the department began publishing the internationally recognized Int|AR Journal on Interventions and Adaptive Reuse in 2009. Advanced design studios focused on adaptive reuse are central to both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Unlike the fields of interior design and decoration, interior architecture looks less at the application of surface materials than at understanding the design of buildings from the inside out.


In Liliane’s words, the exploration of built designs “includes interior interventions, architectural addition and refurbishment, installation, exhibit design, urban transformations and community engagement – using adaptive reuse as the primary tool.” In the studio, students use digital and manual means to research and recommend design alterations and renovations that give existing buildings new life. Studios focus on a wide range of approaches, from domestic to retail design to theater/production design to issues of preservation and conservation.

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