About the School

The Cummings School of Architecture is an educational community dedicated to the creation and stewardship of the built and cultural environments. The School prepares students from many backgrounds with the knowledge and commitment needed to improve our surroundings as well as for leadership roles through their work and their participation in local and global affairs.

We are committed to balance—between creation and conservation, aesthetic and technical pursuits, local and global perspectives, individual exploration and community involvement. We work to achieve this balance through

  • a variety of teaching situations:
    • Studios; lectures; seminars; internships; study abroad; field work; tutorials; public forums; conferences; community service
  • in a varied local and global settings:
    • on-campus; in Bristol, Providence and other Rhode Island cities and towns; in major cities around the world including Florence, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Delhi, Beijing, Yokohama

Mission Statement

The School is the site of many firsts:

  • The first undergraduate program in Historic Preservation in the United States (1976)
  • The first NAAB-accredited professional degree program in architecture in a liberal arts college (1985)
  • The only school in the United States to offer majors in Architecture, Art and Architectural History, Historic Preservation and Visual Arts Studies (1999)
  • The first and only Architecture program in the U.S. to offer a Teaching Firm in Residence position (2007)
  • Three of our Teaching Firms in Residence were ranked in Architect magazine’s 2011 Top 10 US Architecture Firms—#1 Perkins + Will; #5 Ann Beha Architects, #6 Sasaki Associates
  • The AIAri Window on Architecture, Providence -- donated by Roger Williams University is one of three AIA Chapter Headquarters at a US School of Architecture, and the only the one in an urban location

Dean's Message

It is an important point in time to look back at several milestones in our school’s recent history, in order to look ahead and to forecast our future. This will help those considering joining the school can see into where we have been, and where we are seeking to go in advancing the school, our disciplines, professions and communities we engage, and society as a whole.

  • It was 20 years ago that conversations began to bring together the elements of the for the School of Architecture—with programs in Architecture and Historic Preservation, creating Art and Architectural History and adding Visual Arts Studies. We had a vision of balance between creation and conservation, local and global issues, liberal and professional education, and of classroom, field and studio experiences—and people from many places and backgrounds. The result has been the establishment of a great community with much interchange between students, faculty and visitors, and connections to many firms and organizations. This community has fostered a sense of looking forward, and a strong sense of mentoring for and between students.
  • 15 years ago the Master of Architecture was introduced as our NAAB accredited professional program. This has resulted in a consensus that we have achieved increased quality of education, with increased support for faculty scholarly and professional work, and student placements in leading firms in the US and abroad. Expanded facilities in 2003-2005 created the space for our extension to graduate study.
  • 10 years ago the Teaching Firm in Residence Program was established—still unique in US architectural education.
  • The MS in Historic Preservation was established 7 years ago, building on Roger Williams’ undergraduate program founded in 1976--the first undergraduate Historic Preservation program in the US.
  • 5 years ago the Career Investment Program was launched—and to date more than $1.2 million has been invested in students, firms, organizations, and faculty for paid internships.
  • It has been 5 years since we launched our first Samsung and Cloud Computing Pilot program. Within a year this resulted in the establishment of the Samsung Design Studio with major support from Samsung Electronics America, and the rCloud computing university-wide with support from nVidia.

Stay tuned to this space for more information and opportunities to engage.

Stephen White, AIA