Rhode Island School of Design
RISD is one of the few accredited architecture programs in the US in the context of a broadly conceived art and design education. Graduate and undergraduate students share courses, facilities and teachers in the primary areas of architecture and design (landscape architecture, interior architecture, graphic design, industrial design, furniture design, apparel design), in the fine arts (including film and animation, ceramics, glass, textiles, painting, illustration, sculpture) and in arts education. Separate divisions of graduate studies, digital media, liberal arts and foundation studies complete RISD's course offerings. All Brown University courses can also be taken by RISD students, providing university-level access to many other areas of study.
Established more than a century ago, RISD is an art and design school within the urban environment of Providence, Rhode Island. It has approximately 2,000 students majoring in a variety of disciplines from architecture, apparel and industrial design, to painting, sculpture, and jewelry, among others. First-year students from all disciplines follow a common set of courses in the visual arts that constitutes the foundation for a shared culture and rich interaction among all the areas of the school. Major offerings in liberal arts, several programs of study abroad, cross-registration with Brown University, and the RISD Museum create a vital environment for an education in architecture. The studio sequence is the central educational experience for the architecture student at RISD. It begins with a series of coordinated core studios, Design Principles, Architectural Design, and Urban Design Principles, that engages students in critical and instrumental design practices, and progressively introduces issues of form, construction, scale, space, program, and context. Following this core, students are encouraged to develop and follow more particular interests; to that effect, each term the department offers a variety of advanced elective studios (6 to 8 per term) that address different issues, approaches, and scales of architectural inquiry; these studios rely on regular and visiting faculty. In the final term, students are required to develop an independent Degree Project with the assistance of a faculty advisor. Course size and format are central to the nature and quality of the education in the Department of Architecture at RISD. Studios are at the core of the curriculum, with students working together in a common environment. The size of each section, between 12 and 14 students, and the intensity of two (almost) full-day meetings a week establishes a close and individual relationship between student and instructor. Other courses balance the general delivery of instruction with forms of participatory discussion, alternating (or in some cases combining) lecture courses (60 to 100 students) with seminar or workshop formats (15 to 25 students). These courses also balance survey-like syllabi with integrative approaches. The offerings of the department rely on various connections with other areas of the school. All students in the department are expected to have an education in the fundamentals of the visual arts provided by the Foundation year; transfer and graduate students without an education in the visual arts are required to enroll in Summer Session (equivalent to Foundation courses). Undergraduates take the required distribution in Liberal Arts. Particularly important is the relation among the "three architectures" (Architecture, Interior, and Landscape) that are located in the same building, have common courses and studios, and share a variety of activities and undertakings.
Within the context of an art and design school, the Department of Architecture at RISD understands architecture as a cultural discipline and the education of architects as a process of inquiry and experimentation. While the program trains students for the practice of architecture, it does not conceive the discipline in a narrow instrumental way, choosing instead to understand architecture as a cultural discourse subject to the complexities of action and interpretation prevalent in the fields of art and design. At RISD education in architecture is part of a culture of hands-on material sensibility and intellectual speculation.
The Department intertwines the five year Bachelor of Architecture and the three year Master of Architecture programs in the studio curriculum, providing an inspiring and diverse environment for critical thinking and creativity. The hands-on tradition of RISD as a whole is expressed in the program by a deep interest in the physical world, and in construction as a social act; digital fabrication and visualization tools are equally engaged in the students' work.
- Art & Design
- Community Design
- Digital Design
- Ecological Design
- Graphics And Visualization