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 Department of Interior Decoration formed, 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 Bachelors in Interior Architecture (BIA) degree awarded.

1998 Masters of Interior Architecture offered for the first time.

2002 Department moves to CIT, Center for Integrative Technologies.

2006 Masters 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.