Weybosset Facade

There’s a new banner on the iconic Providence National Bank facade! What’s going on you ask? Here’s the scoop…

Located just down the street from our CIT building on Weybosset St. in downtown Providence, this facade was supposed to be incorporated into a new building being developed on the site. However, the building was never erected due to the real-estate crash, and so the facade has been idly awaiting its future for six years now. The facade will be made weather-tight, (allowing for incorporation into future development) and the large, supporting steel structures that currently occupy the sidewalk will be relocated to the rear, freeing the sidewalk for repair and pedestrian use once again. Great news!

Source: City of Providence, RI

Read the extended press-release here


Paris-Belleville School of Architecture [adaptive reuse]

Fellow IntAR followers,

Happy fresh start for 2012.

Check out this video promoting the School of Architecture Paris-Belleville. The video relates the way the school is organized but also let you have a glance at the very interesting adaptive reuse project in the heart of Paris. The school, formerly located in a beautiful old Meccano factory, needed room as the amount of students had increased over the past decade. With the rehabilitation of three very different buildings from various eras, all empty and available a few blocks away from the old location, the architect Jean-Paul Philippon managed to connect them to make a unique school of architecture in the French Capital. The creation of a new building in its center built a core for the school and host the library. The main street facade on the boulevard, the former Diderot Technical High School, benefited from a very humble renovation, and the history of the building is still present in its architectural language. The rest of the school opens onto a courtyard, with modern facades.

Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville

Watch the video for a tour!


Adaptive Reuse

Here is an example of a great new adaptive reuse project, in true Canadian spirit: in downtown Toronto, the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens, previously home to the city’s hockey team for 68 years, reopened today after sitting unused for over 10 years. As a designated heritage building with great sentimental value, its transformation was a long and complicated process with many twists and turns. It has now become a flagship location for a national supermarket chain and an athletic facility for the nearby Ryerson University, while retaining elements and tokens of its original use. 

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(Photos- The Toronto Star)

Read the whole article here:


Visiting Guest Lecturer!

Portuguese Architect João Santa-Rita will be giving a lecture at the Chase Center on December 1st! Among many projects, he will unveil the adaptive reuse of the XVI century Palace Casa dos Bicos for the headquarters of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago Foundation, opening in Lisbon in the Spring 2012.

João Santa-Rita graduated in architecture from the School of Fine Arts of Lisbon (1983).  In 1990 he founded the Atelier Santa-Rita Arquitectos in 1990, together with José D. Santa-Rita.

Since 1996 he has lectured and taught in many academic institutions such as Universidade Lusofona; Universidade Moderna Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema in Lisbon; and was a Visiting professor – SCALA – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Since 1998 he has been teaching as a Visiting Professor at Autonoma University.

João Santa-Rita participated in individual exhibitions such as the Triennale Di Milano (1996), and was selected in the International Competition of Ideas, Citta terzo millenio, to be integrated in the Catalogue of the Biennale Di Venezia 2000.

In 2010 he participated in an Exhibition of architectural drawings, at La Galerie D´Architecture, in Paris (France), which included drawings of Aldo Rossi, Alvaro Siza, CODA, Edouard François, Le Corbusier, and Renzo Piano among others.

Santa-Rita Arquitectos work was awarded in several international competitions such as the Honourable Mention on the International Competition for the Revitalization of the Ulugh Beg Center in Samarkand (former USSR) and the first place in the International Competition for the Urban Plan for Almada Nascente in association with Richard Rogers Partnership and Atkins.

Come check it out!

New Master of Design in Interior Studies [MDes]

The new 2 year + program offered by RISD’s Department of Interior Architecture grants the degree of Master of Design in Interior Studies.

The curriculum includes a summer program as part of the 2 years master program. This summer the new students exhibited their work at the Sol Koffler gallery. Under supervision of Professor Eduardo Benamor Duarte and for the class entitled INTAR 2375-01 Introduction to Interior Architecture, an installation of their work was showcased.

“The studio will investigate the spatial characteristics of an existing site by physically extracting its dimensional and experiential qualities through the insertion of a new construct. Over the course of the week, students will explore a new spatial environment constituted from individual interventions from each student and directly connected through a group assembly logic.”


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In the ProJo!

In the ProJo!

INTAR’s 2 year M.Des students featured in the Providence Journal!

The work of Professor Liliane Wong’s students was featured in the Providence Journal. The students designed specialty furniture pieces for a homeless shelter in Woonsocket, RI, as part of their studio class.

RISD Student, quoted in Buenos Aires’ paper Sociedad.

Earlier this summer, in June, 25 students from various universities in the United States participated in the program called Special Projects: Sustainability in the Developing World, in collaboration with the BASIC Initiative. They worked on a project for the rehabilitation of a community library in one of Buenos Aires “villas” called the Piletones. One of the leading paper of the city, Clarin – Sociedad, wrote an article on the work of the design and architecture students and their involvement in the program.

Ricardo Haro, a RISD Interior Architecture student (MIA 2012) was quoted several times by the paper. He talked about his first impressions and first contact then his involvement with the community as well as his work in the “villa”.

Here is an excerpt from the article, translated from Spanish:

[…] Ricardo Haro is 26 years and is Mexican. He studies interior architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and explains that the Piletones’ project spans over five years. “First we came and tried to gain the trust of the community and let people know what we could do in the neighborhood,” he says, books in hand, on the redesign that made the community library “Betting on the Future.”

Haro, […] recognizes that while there are many gaps in the neighborhood, he expected to meet “with a community worse off.” The reality of life in Los Piletones “was not a shock” to him. He has been in many villages of Mexico. “The difference is the origin of the people.” Here most are Bolivians, Paraguayans, Peruvians and Argentinians.

“At first, the kids looked at us, bothered,” says Haro. “Who are you and what are you doing here,” he said. “Now they greet us very well and do not see us as strangers anymore.” “We also had the opportunity to gain some experience. But we all came here because we wanted to help,” he says.

Jaime Andrés Benítez Cuartas, “Son estudiantes extranjeros y vinieron a ayudar en las villas,” Sociedad, August 17, 2011, http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/estudiantes-extranjeros-vinieron-ayudar-villas_0_536946583.html

To read more of the article in Spanish follow the link below:

Sociedad article about the BASIC Initiative.


Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires designed by Philippe Starck

If you are familiar with the work of Philippe Starck, you know that the famous French designer has his hands on many projects all around the world, and especially through the firm YOO where he is a partner. In Buenos Aires, where the program “Sustainability in the Developing World” is set, you can find a hotel designed by Philippe Starck. The Hotel Faena Hotel And Universe is located in the former industrialized port district of the city, Puerto Madero. This “barrio” is now home of many new building development projects, and modern towers. The area is rapidly gentrifying and hosts many high-end restaurants, cafes and hotels. Despite its fresh new design and its attractiveness among tourists, the area is severely judged by the locals for its artificial look and the way it prevents views of the waterfront from older streets and buildings.

The project for the Hotel Faena is the adaptive reuse of an old brick building called El Porteño Building. The bricks were imported from England when it was built in Buenos Aires in 1902. The rehabilitation and conversion of the building into a hotel happened for a total of US$100 million [  !  ]

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Special Projects: Sustainability in the Developing World

This month and until July 10th, three students of the IntAR Department will follow the steps or their fellow students who went to India last summer to participate in a unique experience. Ricardo, Sruthi and Francois are going to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a program led by Sergio Palleroni, Professor and Fellow of the Center for Sustainable Practices and Processes at Portland State University. This year’s program will focus on sustainable design in the villas of Buenos Aires. Called Villas, these slums are a type of vernacular architecture growing around the city, on land that is undesirable. The “villas” [pronounced veecha] are often without electricity and no running water nor sewage. They are built quickly, sometimes overnight, by immigrants arriving to Buenos Aires. A team of designers from various universities including Portland State University, University of Texas and RISD will work on interventions around the city and specifically in the villa of Piletones. In forms of charettes the students will produce a design and get involved with officials and representatives of the city’s different organizations and groups.








The blog will cover some updates and news about this summer program to which RISD students can apply.

For more info: