2019 Design Awards

Our twenty-fourth annual awards reveal the depth and breadth of Rhode Island's architectural and interior design talent.


Commercial Renovation/New Construction

Gold: Brilliant Work

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Warren Jagger Photography

While evaluating entrants in this category, the most populated of the five, the jurists looked for projects that made a visual impact along their perimeters and on the inside. From its new exterior cladding to the smart lighting design, they said the renovation of the former Brown Office Building at 164 Angell Street “checked all the boxes.” What was once merely a precast concrete box is now a bright, lively academic and research hub. The jury called the decision to “restore and elevate” the existing facade “clever,” and noted how significantly the changes affected the streetscape. The addition of porthole-like vertical windows and a panel of corner windows opened the building to views of the city. Inside, structural renovations improved the flow between spaces, thereby enabling interdisciplinary collaboration. The design created new, flexible workspaces for groups both large and small. “The project represents a fully realized vision.”

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Warren Jagger Photography

Architect: Kim Yao and Stephen Cassell (principals-in-charge), Architecture Research Office, New York, NY
Construction Manager: Shawmut Design and Construction
MEP: Bard, Rao and Athanas
FA/FP: Jensen Hughes
Lighting Designer: Lighting Workshop, Brooklyn, NY
Acoustic Consultant: Threshold Acoustics, Chicago, Ill.
Envelope: Leavitt Associates, Brookline, Mass.
Photographer: Warren Jagger Photography


Silver: High Impact

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The renovation of Rhode Island College’s Gaige Hall “brought the building to a new level,” said the judges. The project’s large scope entailed renovating the entire 64,000-square-foot building, which was plagued by infrastructure deficiencies, and constructing a new 4,000-square-foot addition. The jurists felt the impact of the final product was a testament to the success of the design’s concept, which was really based on simple materials: “windows, walls, ceilings and floors done in the right proportion.” Access to natural light was increased by replacing the building’s two-story center with a three-story, fully glazed facade; elsewhere, existing windows were extended to the ground and additional windows were added. Acoustic and visual inadequacies were addressed in the auditorium and a state-of-the-art sound system was installed. The building is now a welcoming, light-filled space that facilitates the teaching and learning needs of the campus community.

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Architect: LLB Architects, Pawtucket
General Contractor: H.V. Collins, Providence
MEP/FP Engineer: Wilkinson Associates, Warwick; Building Engineering Resources, Cranston
Civil and Structural Engineers: Pare Corporation, Lincoln
Landscape Architect: Traverse Landscape Architects, Providence
Lighting Design: Abernathy Lighting Design, Providence
Code Consultant: Jensen Hughes
Photographer: Nat Rea


Bronze: Forward Thinking

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Nat Rea

Any teacher will tell you that students’ physical learning environments affect their educational outcomes. The Lincoln School’s new STEAM Hub addition, with its curved modern facade, is a visual actualization of the fundamental principles taught within its walls: science, technology, art/architecture and math. Vertical fins along the glass curtain wall were designed, according to the architect, “to create rolling shade as the sun moves.” The jurists complimented the transformation of “dark, cramped classroom spaces into open, airy spaces for learning,” changes that were achieved through the integration of skylights, illuminated walls and bright accent colors. They also applauded the design’s creation of flexible workspaces, which include science labs, study spaces and a 2,000-square-foot art gallery. Cumulatively, the design is highly functional, and likely inspirational, for the population it serves.

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Nat Rea

Architect: LLB Architects, Pawtucket
Construction Manager: Shawmut Design and Construction
MEP/FP Engineer: Wozny/Barbar and Associates, Pawtucket
Code Consultant: Jensen Hughes
Structural Engineer: Odeh Engineers, North Providence
Site/Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin
Photographer: Nat Rea

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