Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Heinrich Hermann

Third Advisor

Wolfgang Rudorf


At the Rhode Island School of Design, students work so much that they treat their studio as home; the majority stay in studio past midnight, which leads to lack of sleep. How to improve students’ physical and mental health is a question demanding immediate investigation, particularly as relates to rest. According to the scientists at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) in Troy, N.Y, engagement with daylight environments increase occupant productivity and comfort, and provide the mental and visual stimulation necessary to regulate circadian rhythms, encouraging more restful sleep. Students cannot function healthily because their busy schedules remove them from the world.

The Design Center of the Rhode Island School of Design has a complex program, hosting Apparel Design, Graphic Design, the RISD Store, Photography, Liberal Arts, dining and several campus service areas. There are some classrooms without windows in the Design Center, but the Photography Department has need for a darkroom which cannot have any windows; clearly it is necessary to rearrange those rooms and utilize the existing properties of the space. In this complex environment of competing departmental needs, it is necessary to create inspiring spaces to improve those departments’ student productivity, physical and mental health. As the original structure of the Design Center blocks vast amounts of potential natural light, this thesis proposes the intervention of several large atriums supported by a new structural system. The atriums not only allow natural light to penetrate deep into this [however many stories the design center is] storey building, they alter circulation throughout. The core of the Design Center is given a sense of the passage of time and the seasons, reconnecting students to the natural world that their busy schedules do not allow them to experience firsthand.



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