RISD Completes Quad Block Enhancement Project with Reopening of Homer and South Hall Residences

Renovations focused on environmental impact and meeting the needs of today’s students  

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has completed renovations to its Homer and South Hall residences, marking the end of phase three of the multiyear Quad block enhancement project, which includes multiple housing structures and a dining facility. Homer Hall was built in 1957 and South Hall in 1985. Homer Hall’s structure and original slate roof were repaired, and additional enhancements were made in both residences to support students and adhere to RISD’s vision for a sustainable future. The Quad block’s recently built North Hall opened in 2019 as part of the project’s initial phase, and subsequent Nickerson Hall renovations were completed in 2020.

“We are thrilled to complete the Quad block enhancement project and welcome students to these new spaces at the start of fall semester,” notes Interim President Dave Proulx. “RISD’s goal throughout the project was to meet the needs of our students while staying true to our broader institutional vision as set forth in RISD’s strategic plan. This project has exceeded our expectations, and many in the RISD community—including students, staff and alumni—have contributed to bringing this vision to fruition.”

The various Quad block renovations, including the North Hall new build, were designed by award-winning architect and RISD Architecture alumnus Nader Tehrani (RISD ’86) in collaboration with fellow principal Arthur Chang and their Boston-based firm NADAAA. Katherine Faulkner was involved in the Quad block masterplan and the North Hall build while Richard Lee (RISD ’96) served as project manager throughout the Quad block renovations. Developed in the 1950s, RISD’s core campus was designed by local architects Cull, Robinson and Green with nationally known architect Pietro Belluschi acting as a consultant. Pietro Belluschi is the father of Anthony Belluschi (RISD ’66, P95), emeritus trustee and former president of the RISD Alumni Association. 

Homer Hall now provides 171 beds for students, and common spaces for socializing and making have been incorporated throughout the building. As part of the renovation, a new Homer South façade forms a more public front to the quad. Eco-friendly features include Energy Recovery Ventilation attic units and an upgrade to the building’s exterior, which will improve thermal performance. 

South Hall now provides 63 beds for students, one resident apartment and common spaces for socializing and making within the building. As part of the renovation, a new lobby entry off Waterman Street was added and dedicated offices for RISD Public Safety were incorporated. The mechanical equipment was upgraded for greater energy efficiency.

The work was completed through a collaborative design process using an integrated project delivery (IPD) “lean” model with close collaboration between RISD, NADAAA, Shawmut Construction, technical consultants, trade partners and commodity trades. Project highlights include:

Homer Hall 
Sustainability:

  • Building’s exterior thermal performance was upgraded with new uPVC windows, aluminum curtainwall/storefront and new continuous insulation installed at the interior side of all exterior walls and attic ceiling
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) units installed in attic for air exchange energy conservation
  • Point-of-use heating and cooling control, operable windows for passive cooling and fan coil units installed in each room with individual room control
  • Environmentally friendly fixtures used throughout the building, including LED lighting, high-efficiency plumbing and appliances

New Shared Spaces:

  • 1,900-sf open floor workroom
  • 750-sf new entry lounge at level 1 connector 
  • New 700-sf kitchen and vending area
  • Two new multi-function meeting rooms (210- & 120-sf), new Pride Room and Reflection Room (100-sf each)
  • Upgraded 2,100-sf level 3 lobby and main lounge
  • Upgraded stairwells with full height storefront glazing for views into the quad
  • Upgraded central laundry room with five washers/dryers
  • New elevator with full building access
  • Common use bathrooms with privatized stalls  

South Hall 
Sustainability:

  • Upgraded mechanical system for energy conservation
  • Upgraded fire alarm system and new lighting in common spaces with high-efficiency fixtures
  • New elevator with full building access
  • New wheelchair lift providing wheelchair access between Homer Hall and South Hall

Shared Spaces and Amenities:

  • 400-sf open floor workroom
  • 280-sf upgraded entry lobby at Level 1
  • New 230-sf street level entry lobby
  • Upgraded 130-sf kitchen
  • New RISD Public Safety office wing
  • Lounges on bedroom floors opened up to the corridors

Refectory Dining Facility 
Sustainability:

  • SunTegra Solar Shingle roof paired with a Generac PWRcell battery system
  • Solar shingles will produce about 50,000 kWhs of clean electricity annually
  • Generac battery system will be the primary energy supply for single phase kitchen loads

High-resolution imagery of this project available herePhotography credits: John Horner

About Rhode Island School of Design
RISD’s mission, through its college and museum, is to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation. The college’s strategic plan NEXT: RISD 2020–2027 sets an ambitious vision for educating students for the future and bringing creative practices to bear on the creation of just societies, a sustainable planet and new ways of making and knowing. RISD’s immersive model of art and design education, which emphasizes critical making through studio-based learning and robust study in the liberal arts, prepares students to intervene in the critical challenges of our time. Working with exceptional faculty and in extraordinary specialized facilities, 2,225 students from 60 countries engage in 44 full-time bachelor's and master's degree programs. RISD’s 30,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of this model of education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society. 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. Find more information at risd.edu