An Architecture student at a studio drafting table

As an integral part of an art and design school, Architecture at RISD emphasizes process, artistic sensibilities and social and ethical responsibility. Students hone the ability to think and communicate through drawing, making, writing and discussing ideas with others as they define and articulate a personal approach to the discipline.

Degree programs


5-year program


3-year program and 2-year advanced standing pathway

In the studio

Architecture majors inspire each other as they get direct experience building with materials and learning to understand the technical demands of architecture through a process of inquiry, reflection and invention.

Featured stories

Maharam Fellowships Support Greater Good

In keeping with RISD’s strategic plan, this summer’s 10 Maharam fellows use their design skills to promote social justice and sustainability.

Broadening the Design Canon

Three RISD Architecture students are working to build a more inclusive reference archive that integrates non-European forms.​

Architecture Crits Online

Students finish the fall semester by sharing their final projects with visiting experts from around the world.

Student work

Overhead view of intricate architectural model

Architecture alumni make their mark as creative professionals in many different ways. Some launch their own practices designing and building residential and/or commercial projects, while others join larger established firms or smaller studios. In addition to practicing as architects, alumni have also gone on to stand out as sustainability specialists, author/illustrators, educators, health care designers and more.

Alumni at work

Deborah Berke BArch 77 | architect/educator

Known for an economy of form and function, Deborah Berke has built her New York firm based on a commitment to community and sustainability. She regularly returns to RISD as a critic and is a long-time faculty member at Yale University, where she has been named the first female dean of the School of Architecture, effective in July 2016. In 2012 Deborah earned the Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize—a $100,000 award and teaching appointment at UC/Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. She credits her success to a combination of practice, teaching and public service.​

Michael Maltzan BArch 85 | architect/social activist

Based in Los Angeles, Michael Maltzan designs homes, art centers, public housing complexes and landscapes to stimulate and engage users. With an eye toward the greater good, Maltzan designs buildings are graceful, minimalist and striking. He began earning recognition as early as his undergraduate days at RISD, when he won the Henry Adams AIA Scholastic Gold Medal. Since then Maltzan’s firm has been widely recognized—including with a 2012 American Academy of Arts & Letters Award—and its projects have been exhibited at major museums worldwide.

A closeup of Architecture student work