At RISD we offer three advanced degrees in Interior Architecture: a 1-year+ Master of Arts (MA) and a 2-year+ Master of Design (MDes) in adaptive reuse, and a 2-year+ MDes in exhibition and narrative environments.
1-year+ MA program in Adaptive Reuse
As a post-professional program culminating in a student's first academic degree in architecture, the 45-credit Master of Arts in Adaptive Reuse offers a specialist design education in adaptive reuse. It establishes a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for the study of adaptive reuse that properly equips graduating students to engage in architectural practice.
The curriculum supports you in developing strategies that account for the importance of social and environmental responsibility, while expanding upon the architect’s understanding of reuse as a product of both practice and theory.
The MA program begins with a seven-week summer program in Denmark taught by faculty in RISD’s Interior Architecture department and from our partner institution, Denmark Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen.
MA learning outcomes
Graduates of the MA program are prepared to:
- engage in the practice and implementation of adaptive reuse in the built environment through the demonstration of an appropriate aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework.
- expand upon the architect's understanding of reuse as a product of practice and in the context of architectural history and theory.
- develop strategies for acknowledging the importance of social and environmental responsibility through design projects.
- view and evaluate adaptive reuse through a multifaceted lens.
- recognize the origins of adaptive reuse as well as the contemporary context governing current practice.
- use qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the economic and environmental merits of adaptive reuse.
- become ambassadors of adaptive reuse as a specialty in the professional design setting through the advancement of such practice at conferences and as built work.
2-year+ MDes program in Adaptive Reuse
The 75-credit Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies: Adaptive Reuse program offers a unique design education in the alteration of existing structures through interior interventions and the practice of adaptive reuse. This course of study focuses specifically on designing interventions for existing structures at many scales—from single rooms to entire buildings as well as the larger urban fabric.
While operating outside the confines of professional architectural licensure, graduates of the program qualify to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam.
MDes: Adaptive Reuse learning outcomes
Graduates of the MDes program are prepared to:
- adopt a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for interior studies in order to engage in this subject in the design field.
- investigate different aspects of design interventions in the built environment.
- articulate the distinctive nature of interior studies as an effective member of a design team able to interact and collaborate with fellow professionals in related fields.
- develop design strategies that recognize the importance of social and environmental responsibility.
- assess the spatial transformation capabilities of an existing structure.
- formulate an original design concept based on research and evaluate, develop, present and advocate coherent design propositions.
- understand and incorporate related consultant feedback as part of the collaborative process in a professional setting.
2-year+ MDes program in Exhibition and Narrative Environments
In the 75-credit Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies: Exhibition and Narrative Environments program, you engage in a dynamic course of study focused on making interior interventions within the context of narrative environments—spaces that encompass or communicate a form of storytelling.
In providing a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for the study of exhibition design, the program properly equips graduating students to create narrative experiences within museum settings. You may take exhibition-related coursework through electives in other departments, such as Graphic Design, Digital + Media and Theory and History of Art and Design, or through Brown University, and also take advantage of resources and opportunities offered by the RISD Museum.
Approximately 100 undergraduate and grad students pursue degrees in the Interior Architecture department, working together in RISD's Center for Integrative Technologies. Students come from around the world and work with more than 25 full- and part-time faculty members who studied and practice in the US and internationally. This lends a very global, cosmopolitan feel to the department and allows for especially fruitful collaborations and critical exchange.
Design studios are at the heart of both the MA and MDes programs, with seminars and research-based practice that let you hone your theoretical and design skills and understanding of relevant technologies. For those who have earned a BArch or first professional degree in Architecture, the MA program provides a specialized post-professional education centered on adaptive reuse. It equips graduates to engage in the practice of adaptive reuse and incorporate strategies that emphasize social and environmental responsibility.
For students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than architecture, the MDes program provides a unique design education on the alteration of existing structures through interior interventions and adaptive reuse, outside the confines of professional architectural licensure.
Each MA candidate produces a final project that begins with a research component in the fall and evolves into a studio/design project in the spring. MDes candidates demonstrate competency through self-directed degree projects (DPs) that include a seminar on theory, a research component and a studio component.
Each DP focuses on the transformation of an existing structure of their choice in the city of Providence. All MA and MDes candidates also participate in an annual graduate thesis exhibition of work by students graduating from RISD's advanced degree programs.