RISD to Update Former Dye Plant

May 29, 2013

An architectural rendering of the plan for RISD's illustration building at 55 Canal Street.
Credit RISD

Students in an illustration studio at RISD. The department has not upgraded facilities since 1967.
Credit RISD

The Rhode Island School of Design breaks ground Thursday on a major renovation of its Illustration Studies Building. The project is expected to take three years to complete at a cost of more than $12 million.

RISD plans to add 5,600 square feet to the former chemical and dye plant in downtown Providence and make it fully handicapped accessible. The project also calls for a complete renovation of the illustration studios and classrooms housed in the building.

University officials say illustration is the third most popular major at RISD, with roughly 300 students and 40 faculty. The department's home on Canal Street was originally built in 1848 and has not undergone a major renovation since the late 1960's.

RISD is working to raise $5.5 million to cover the cost of the renovation, designed by architect and RISD alumnus Ed Wojcik. Construction on the project will be managed by Shawmut Construction.