RISD Student Center
Studio: WORKac (WorkArchitecture Company)
Project: RISD Student Center
Location: Providence, RI, USA
Category: Institutional buildings
Credit: Bruce Damonte
Anew hub for student lifeat RISD integrates student services with a series of public spaces thatcelebrate the diversity of artistic, socialand educational activities at the school. A single enveloping gesture–afloating curved wall–wraps the interior of the main lobby and gallery space. At one end, an acoustic curtain creates a flexibleclassroom/gallery space, while asecond insertion houses a student advising center.On the back sideof the building, a striking contemporary addition, clad in perforated metal panels, housesanewlecture hall and themail room–vital infrastructure for a student body that increasingly turns to online retail for supplies and other everyday needs. The design reinterprets the mail room as a social institution, with an “unpacking space” where students can congregate and socialize.The lecture hall opens to the street, allowing RISD to participate in a dialogue with the city.The heart ofthe project is one of the first custom-designed gender-neutral bathroomspaces in the country. Six sizable private water closets are arrayed around communal sinks. Their exuberant shapes and rainbow colors celebrate that this bathroom doesn’tforce itsusers into fixed gendered boxes.