What a productive midterm week! let’s see what everyone is working on and what they’ve got by now!
STUDIO 1 : Shape of Flight
STUDIO 2 : The narrative of museum
STUDIO 3 : Elsa Peretti for TIFFANY
To Be Continued …
Overwhelmed by tones of well-made models and drawings, the 2nd year graduate students are working hard on their thesis in the final semester.
Take care! Thesis students! Looking forward for your graduate exhibition!
The 1st year MDes students just finished a chess club adaptive reuse project. Since this project was about how we apply the concept and chess language architecturally into an existing 1,000 sq. feet space, all involved called it a ”mind game”. It was nice to see 3 sections start researching and working from different aspects to achieve the same goal. Some of us focused on the surrounding environment and the adaptability of the building, while others focused on the circulation and the program. Some did an excellent translation from chess language such as castling, check mate, promotion and capture to the existing space. Others touched on furniture and the interior furnishing system. Whether one focused on drawings, models or diagrams all did an excellent job!
Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture Markus Berger and his students from RISD’s Masters program in Interior Architecture (Adaptive Reuse) want to broaden our thinking about historic preservation. In a spring studio called past. present. future, they’re exploring the relationship between preservation and design, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate the principles of adaptive reuse and building interventions through a complex design project.
The class is reimagining Newport’s historic Jane Pickens Theater and Events Center, which was designed by well-known Rhode Island architect Russell Warren and originally built as the Zion Episcopal Church in 1834. Located in Washington Square at the heart of the city, the building was one of Newport’s first Greek revival structures. However, its neoclassical façade – with pediment and columns – was lost when it was transformed into a theater in 1919. In 2004 the Staab family bought the property and has continued to operate it as an art-house theater, attracting loyal audiences from throughout New England.
The students are considering the building as their own ‘canvas,’ working to understand its history and context in the city without curtailing their imagination and exploring the full possibilities of creative intervention. The project is made possible by a grant from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, which supports “the structural integrity and appropriate adaptive reuse of key historic properties” on Aquidneck Island and in Newport County for the enjoyment of future generations.
Berger is asking students to intervene in ways that will “allow the building to evolve toward the future.” Working with the theater’s owners and the Jane Pickens Friends group, students are researching the structure, brainstorming ways to expand its commercial uses and creating innovative designs to accommodate these new uses. “Our job is to open everyone’s eyes to what the building could be” while at the same time paying homage to its unique history, says Joe Epstein MA 12, one of the students participating in the studio.
Students are considering various ways of transforming the theater into an entertainment hub that would bring in new audiences and help revitalize the area. Monica Alicea Matos MA 12 proposes to create spaces for a children’s theater workshop during the day and a nightclub that attracts young people in the evening, while Aarti Kathuria MA 12 envisions adding high-end residential units on top of the two-story building. Beatriz Cardona Rivera MA 12 is proposing to restore the neoclassical façade while transforming the interior of the building with the inclusion of extra space above for future programs. “In the past, preservationists would have simply restored the façade” and left it at that, Cardona says. “My design would keep the language of the structure but create a completely new experience once you enter it.”
Implementing the principles of adaptive reuse requires “a different approach to conservation than the traditional understanding of ‘historical preservation’,” Berger points out. “In this studio we ask our students to “explore the relationship between preservation and design. With a full understanding of an existing building’s original purpose we propose new uses and approaches that consider its historic context while focusing on its future. Adaptive reuse brings in new design elements that establish an enhanced relationship between old and new.”
Kathy Staab, owner of the Jane Pickens Theater, recently visited the adaptive reuse class at RISD. “It was exciting to see the variety of creative ideas for the building that students had developed,” she notes. “At the JPT we encourage out-of-the-box thinking as a part of our mission and this partnership with RISD has been an interesting way of expanding the possibilities of what might be.”
On May 25 students will present their final designs to the theater owners, members of the community, developers, preservationists and the press at a gathering at the Jane Pickens Theater and Events Center. The proposals will be on display through May 27 at Newport’s Colony House. Berger expects that the presentation will “engage and continue the conversation on preservation and its potential for Newport and its future. We hope to show the community that preservation and design can come together.”
The talented Interior Architecture student Ariane Van Dievoet is entering a competition for furniture design.
Originally from Belgium, Ariane studied in Cambridge and London (UK) and is now a grad student in the MDes program at RISD. The work presented is composed of different furniture projects. One of them, from this past semester at RISD is called Wonderwal: “a partitioning storage unit designed for and installed at the Woonsocket homeless shelter in Rhode Island.” Other work include Benchestool, a modular seating system. When combined, the individual seating units form a bench. “Designed for easy and elegant storage, this versatile seating solution is ideal for small spaces.”
Check out more work, such as the ‘Stepstool’ and Saku chair, at this address, and vote for Ariane!
If you are around tomorrow night, Thursday March 1st at the CIT, join us for the portfolio night! 6:30pm, 6th Floor.
“This will be a great opportunity to learn from the wisdom of your peers. We want to hear what websites people like to use for theirwork, where people print their physical portfolios and your techniques for applying for internships! You can also ask for feedback from your peers on your portfolio.”
And remember, visit the PORTFOLIO section of this blog to view other online portfolios.
On Thursday, November 3rd, the professors of the department of Interior Architecture at RISD announced to the whole student body a design charette that would last from that Thursday morning until Saturday at noon.
The whole student body was randomly divided into 10 teams that were going to compete against each other, and propose a new design for the Portfolio Café, located in “15 West”, a student residence that houses the library and the café on its first floor.
Students met with their professors as well as the director of the dining services at RISD and the Portfolio Café chef. The cafe currently serves 500 meals/day, to students living in the residence, off campus students, as well as professionals working downtown. The issues with the current design were listed, and students took notes while on a tour of the cafe. Many improvements are needed, and a complete redesign is expected.
After three days [and late nights] of hard work, the 10 teams pinned up their work, for the jury to review it. After deliberation, a total of 4 runners up were selected. After a final selection that took place on Saturday afternoon, the jury decided to award a prize to the 2 ex-aqueous winning teams. They have been rewarded with a cash prize, and the runners-up won a chef’s dinner at the Cafe. The winning teams will also meet with the client as consultants for the design process.
This charette was a great opportunity for students of the department to work with each other, get to know one another. The connections between grads and undergrads is not always common. Having a busy schedule along with high work load does not allow for much collaboration on a daily basis. The project allowed students to finally know their classmates, while giving a insight of the design world, and its constant design charettes.
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.”