The mission of the Department of Interior Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is to provide a unique spatial design education relating to the existing built environment. Our pedagogical philosophy is to establish a clear aesthetic, theoretical and technological framework for the investigation of design interventions in adaptive reuse, in order that graduating students are properly equipped to engage in and disseminate such design practice that recognizes the importance of social and environmental responsibility.

Key moments in the history of the Department:

1912 Interior Decoration course taught within the Department of Decorative Design

1917 Established course in Interior Decoration, housed within the Department of Architecture

1931 Formed, the Department of Interior Decoration offering coursework in Furniture and Textiles

1955 Department changes name to Department of Interior Architecture, under Department Head Ernst Lichtblau. BFA Interior Architectural Design was awarded for the first time.  

1960 Name changed to Department of Architecture and Interior Architectural Design

1969 Division of Architectural Studies formed with the “Three Architectures” - Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture – and Industrial Design

1975 First professional BIA degree awarded.

1998 Master of Interior Architecture offered for the first time.

2002 Department moves to CIT, Center for Integrative Technologies

2006 Master of Interior Architecture, Advanced Standing created and Summer Program established in Copenhagen, Denmark

2011 Introduction of MDes in Interior Studies [Adaptive Reuse] and MA in Interior Architecture Last award of the BIA degree

2013 Last award of MIA degree

2015 MA in Interior Architecture changed to MA in Adaptive Reuse

2016 MDes in Interior Studies [Exhibition & Narrative Environment] proposed and accepted as pilot program to begin Fall 2017