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Rhode Island School of Design to Dedicate Renovated Illustration Studies Building


43,500-sf of revitalized space to meet the current and future needs of one of college’s largest undergraduate departments

Rhode Island School of Design [RISD] will unveil its newly renovated Illustration Studies Building [ISB] on Saturday, October 10, 2015. A public opening and dedication will be held from 4–6 pm at 1 Washington Place as part of RISD by Design, an annual three-day gathering that brings alumni and parents to campus. President Rosanne Somerson [RISD BFA ’76] will deliver remarks at 5 pm.

The three-year, multi-phase renovation – which revitalized the ISB’s 43,500-sf of studio, classroom, gallery and home space – supports the academic vision outlined in RISD’s 2012–17 strategic plan and provides one of the college’s largest undergraduate departments with a facility that meets the current and anticipated needs of its rapidly evolving curriculum. Formerly a 19th-century chemical and dye plant and home to RISD Illustration since 1979, the ISB was last renovated in 1967.

“We are thrilled to have a facility that so fully supports the education we offer our students,” notes RISD Illustration Department Head Susan Doyle [RISD BFA ’81 / RISD MFA ’98]. “It is exciting to think about where it can help take our program in the years ahead.”

The heart of the ISB renovation was enabled by a new 5,600-sf addition. The five-story add-on to the east elevation of the building, which houses seminar rooms, a code-compliant stairway, elevators and restrooms, made the building fully accessible and allowed each floor to be reconfigured. Through reconfiguration, the ISB now features fully updated teaching and making spaces, two galleries and new mechanical systems. Designed by award-winning alumnus Ed Wojcik [RISD BFA ’88], the $12.1 million renovation was managed by Shawmut Construction.

Illustration is the second largest undergraduate major at RISD, with nearly 300 students and more than 40 full and part-time faculty. The major’s ever-growing list of distinguished alumni work in diverse fields including journalism, publishing, game and interactive design, advertising, textiles and surface design, and robotics.

About Rhode Island School of Design
Known as the leading college of art and design in the United States, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD’s accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD’s 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit and

At RISD there's nothing unusual about suddenly finding a doorknob on a tree trunk, shown here across from Carr House,
the charming home of Student Life offices and the student-run Carr Haus Café.