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School of Architecture, Art, & Historic Preservation

Fun, Functional Fabric: SAAHP Students Sweep Competition in Fabric Structures Challenge

October 15, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – From a marine-inspired performing arts stage at Fort Adams in Newport to an urban tree canopy garden on the Charles River in Boston to large, whimsical tents for outdoor events on the Roger Williams University quad, a trio of unique fabric-based structures designed by graduate architecture students propelled them to a sweep of the top three spots in an international student design challenge.

When the Industrial Fabrics Association International announced the winners of its 2015 Fabric Structures Student Design Challenge last week at the IFAI Expo 2015 in Anaheim, Calif., RWU’s Nicholas Musilli landed first place for his individual entry, “Sail Stage,” Kyle Baron and Catherine Smeykal took second place for “Urban Canopy Garden,” and Dominic Skrajewski and Leslie Hulbert earned third place for “(Con) Temporary.”

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SAAHP Exhibition: Architecture Under Pressure

SAAHP Exhibition – Architecture Under Pressure Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., Cambridge, MA Firm Profile: Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. is a full service firm with a team of six architectural designers and two project architects. Commissions encompass projects of diverse scales and types including houses, educational facilities, cultural institutions and urban designs for private owners, institutions, government agencies and corporations. For more information on Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., visit This event is free and open to the public.

Inset: Keystone Academy Performing Arts Center, Beijing, 2011-15. Image courtesy of Preston Scott Cohen, Inc.

SAAHP Lecture: Architecture Under Pressure

Preston Scott Cohen is the Gerald M. McCue Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he was Chair of Architecture from 2008-2013. His firm, Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. of Cambridge, MA, is recognized for the design of renowned cultural and educational institutions around the world including the Sarmiento Angulo Performing Arts Center in Bogota, Colombia; the Taubman Wing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; the Taiyuan Museum of Art in Taiyuan, China; the Amir Building of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Goldman Sachs Canopy in New York. Cohen has received numerous awards and honors including induction as an academician at the National Academy of Art, five Progressive Architecture Awards, first prizes for seven international architectural competitions and an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Cohen is the author of "Lightfall" (Skira Rizzoli, 2016), "The Return of Nature" (Routledge, 2015), "Contested Symmetries" (Princeton Press, 2001) and numerous theoretical and historical essays on architecture.

SAAHP Lecture: Research and the Creative Process

Darren Waterston graduated with a BFA from the Otis Art Institute in 1988, having previously studied at the Akademie der Künste and the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, both in Germany. His exhibition Uncertain Beauty, which includes the installation Filthy Lucre, is currently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA through February 23rd, and will travel to The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer/Sackler Galleries in May 2015. "Darren Waterston: Filthy Lucre" was recently published by Skira Rizzoli in association with MASS MoCA and the Freer/Sackler. Darren Waterston has been exhibiting his paintings, works on paper, and installations in the U.S. and abroad since the early 1990s. Recent exhibition highlights include: Forest Eater at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (2011); "Splendid Grief: The Afterlife of Leland Stanford Jr." (2009), an installation at The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, CA; and "The Flowering (The Fourfold Sense)" (2007), at the Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR.

SAAHP Lecture: Full-Scale

Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA is the founder and principal of MERGE architects. Elizabeth has served on the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) /AIA Board of Directors, the BSA/AIA Rotch Traveling Fellowship Committee and the BSA/AIA Nominating Committee. She is also a recipient of the 2015 AIA Young Architects Award. Elizabeth graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design with Distinction where she received numerous awards during her graduate studies including the Core Studio Prize, the Faculty Design Award, and the John E. Thayer Award for overall academic achievement. Elizabeth approaches architecture as a discipline embedded in both practice and academia. She has taught design studios in several Architecture programs including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, the Boston Architectural College, and Harvard University (GSD), where she was also Lead Faculty in Architecture in their Career Discovery Summer Program. Elizabeth currently holds a faculty position as Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Designed to Inspire: Local Officials Laud Students' Work on Ferry Terminal

December 21, 2015

FALL RIVER, MASS. – Set on the eastern bank of Mount Hope Bay and the mouth of the Taunton River, the City of Fall River owes much of its rich history to the water. For generations the mill city served as America’s leading textile manufacturer, powered by the Quequechan River.

That was more than a century ago. Fall River’s mighty manufacturing industry fell victim to the Great Depression and – despite valiant efforts to refashion itself with a garment industry that lasted into the 1990s – the city has struggled to reclaim its legacy as an economic beacon. But Fall River’s motto, “We’ll Try,” continues to buoy revitalization efforts and city officials are once again looking to the water to redevelop the City Pier, calling on their neighbors across the Bay – Roger Williams University architecture students – to provide plans for a potential ferry terminal on Davol Street.

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Inside Scoop: More from RWU Magazine Issue 12

December 14, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – After digging into stories of alumni finding love over pizza, students devising on-the-fly disaster aid in Peru, the impact of the growing Latino population in Rhode Island and so much more within the pages of RWU Magazine Issue 12, we’re prepared to satisfy your hunger for more content.

From extended interviews to photo slideshows and recipes to sear a perfect scup dish, sink your teeth into these extra morsels below from beyond the pages.

Want to see yourself in the next issue of RWU Magazine? Send us your story ideas at

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Slideshow: Out of This World with Mixed-Media Artist Elizabeth Duffy

December 29, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – Award-winning mixed-media artist Elizabeth Duffy, an associate professor of visual arts at Roger Williams, doesn’t rely on a telescope to inform her perspective on the universe.

“I love thinking that you can see the whole world in a small detail of life, much like what happens when you experience an epiphany or revelation,” Duffy says.

Her Skin/Hair/Breath series replicates the expanse of outer space on a miniscule scale through a process of layering enlarged – and unrecognizable – photographs of skin particles, loose hair, condensed breath, retinal images and other natural elements.

The images act as a catalyst for imagination by inducing a sense of wonder and questioning, according to Duffy, but also act as a vantage point for exploring perspective.

“It’s a parallel for the way we experience life, because we are always caught up in our daily lives and don’t always realize the extraordinary, large system we’re a part of.”

Panel Discussion: "Bristol: Past & Present"

A panel discussion at the museum will provide an open forum to examine the physical changes that have taken place in Bristol and consider the concept of historic preservation against the backdrop of an exhibition featuring old and new images of Bristol’s historic properties and iconic celebrations. Presenters include Adjunct Professor Stephan Brigidi, Professor Emeritus of Historic Preservation Kevin Jordan, Visiting Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Catherine Zipf, and the student photographers. 

The panel discussion will be free and open to the public. Donations to the museum are welcome.

Bristol: Past & Present is a student-curated exhibition. The exhibition will be on display from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, on Thursday to Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Bristol: Past & Present

Featuring old and new images of Bristol’s historic properties and iconic celebrations, this student-curated exhibition will include multimedia displays. The exhibition will be on display from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, on Thursday to Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. 

A panel discussion on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at the museum will provide an open forum to examine the physical changes that have taken place in Bristol and consider the concept of historic preservation against the backdrop of the exhibition. Presenters include Adjunct Professor Stephan Brigidi, who led the project; Professor Emeritus of Historic Preservation Kevin Jordan, who also serves as a member of the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society; Visiting Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Catherine Zipf; and the student photographers.