Exhibition | Crossing the Pell

Please join RISD’s Interior Architecture department for an immersive exhibition exploring pedestrian and bicycle access to the iconic Newport Pell Bridge. Crossing the Pell is the culminating project of RISD Interior Architecture’s 2021 MA in Adaptive Reuse program. A collaboration between graduate students from the departments of Interior Architecture and Landscape Architecture that supports RISD’s commitment to sustainability, a pillar of its current strategic plan, this studio resulted in four design visions for introducing bike and pedestrian access to the existing Claiborne Pell Bridge. Cities across the nation have been getting behind the cycling movement, adding bicycle lanes to the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, for example, as well as to multiple bridges crossing the San Francisco Bay.

The studio objective was to reimagine the bridge using innovative composite materials, providing access to pedestrians and cyclists. As part of their designs, students proposed creative interventions such as arts venues, parks, cafes and even a floating fish market in an effort to create forward-thinking community experiences that would inspire government decision makers. 

In addition to providing access, such experiences would also draw both local and out-of-state visitors to the Pell Bridge. The ultimate goal is to use academic investigations to introduce the idea of such infrastructural interventions to the citizens of Rhode Island, supporting the goals of improving the safety and condition of bridges and exploring the use of innovative materials with respect to transportation infrastructure.

The exhibition provides fully immersive virtual experiences to provide participants with a visceral sense of what it would mean to pedal or walk across the Pell. Funding from the Champlin Foundation allowed the Interior Architecture students to purchase VR/AR headsets, a stationary bike and other equipment needed to create an immersive exhibition presenting the four design schemes at RISD’s Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery. Plans are also in the works for the exhibition to travel to a series of other Rhode Island venues.

For more information, visit crossingthepell.risd.edu.

All attendees must wear masks and socially distance as feasible. 

Friday, August 6 at 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery
169 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI

Event Type



Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture

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