Brown University, Cabinet Building, Population Studies and Training Center

Providence, Rhode Island

The Cabinet Building was built in 1844 to house the Rhode Island Historical Society, and later was expanded to include a domed space to the rear and wings on either side. After Brown University acquired the building in the 1970s, the gallery mezzanine of the original building was in-filled as a new floor, and the interior dome was hidden above an acoustic tile ceiling. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCITATIONGold CitationFEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior RenovationSUB CATEGORYRenovation in different time periods, with different materials and uses, the floor levels of the building and the wings were all at different floor heights.

The renovation rebuilds nearly 90 percent of the building interior. New egress stairs and floor structure were added, and the plaster dome and octagonal skylight monitor of the second-level space were brought back. Office/meeting space is clustered in the attic, where part of the roof was removed and a continuous ridge skylight installed, allowing for exposure of original hand-hewn roof trusses under a wash of light. The open doors and treatment of space create a clear sightline from the street, through the building, to the domed area.

“Masterful use of material and innovative spatial reorganization. This design successfully incorporates contemporary elements into the historical structure.”--2007 jury