Is interior architecture just another name for interior design?
No. Interior architecture focuses on the re-use of existing structures and their subsequent transformation into new space and/or form rather than the design and decoration of spaces. Our curriculum is studio-based, with supporting study of history/theory, structures, mechanical systems, drawing, lighting and codes. Our program provides the knowledge to remove, renovate and add to existing structures. Every built structure eventually faces three possibilities: demolition, preservation or adaptive reuse. RISD's Interior Architecture Department has focused on the latter since 1947, when Ernst Lichtblau assumed leadership. An architect, designer and student of Otto Wagner, he changed the name and professional orientation of the department from Interior Design to Interior Architecture, which shifted the focus from the application of surface materials to understanding the design of "a building from the interior to the exterior."