at rhode island school of design’s new student success center in providence, an historic three-story brick building actively reveals a dynamic and colorful intervention by new york city-based architecture firm WORKac. the contemporary new structure inserts itself into the open section of the building — a U shape in plan — offering two vibrant new spaces, a bold new public face for the school, and a newly activated streetscape. half of the addition hosts space for mail sorting and pick-up, displaying incoming packages as an expressive element in continuation with the building’s transparent ethos.

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation
all images by bruce damonte

 

 

adjacent to this mailroom, WORKac situates an auditorium within its RISD student center whose sweeping ceiling treatment glides downward toward the exterior-facing wall and signifies the outer expression of the space. the curved lifting of the otherwise flat perforated metal skin cloaks the addition. toward the southern facade, new double glass doors lead to WORKac’s interior intervention which first announces itself as a flash of deep RISD orange. a moment of added depth, the element invites curiosity and exploration.

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

 

 

across this threshold the addition reveals itself in layers as the two spaces connect. what is visible in the section of the addition — a perforated wall that lifts to reveal the interior — reappears in plan in the renovated portion of the structure. a thick hanging wall with edges of deep orange lifts off the ground and winds around the periphery of the entrance hall.

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

 

 

this hybridized architectural vocabulary — extrusions combined with subtractions and lines that later reveal solidity — lends a playful spirit to the space. flexibility throughout allows a ‘shared brain’ interaction between students of a new generation. acoustic curtains on pill-shaped tracks — all the curves, with a single exception, are segments of circles — give users a chance to subdivide the space and lend the intervention a sense of purposeful customization and variety. leave them open, and it’s a gallery. close them, and intimate discussions, presentations, or classes can take place. the building also features gender-inclusive restrooms, as shown in the gallery at the bottom of this page, where students are wearing clothing designed by RISD alum danielle simpkin.

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforationnew face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforationnew face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

new face of RISD by WORKac expresses orange detailing and perforation

 

 

project info:

 

title: RISD student success center
architecture: WORKac

location: rhode island school of design, providence, RI
photography: bruce damonte