Saving Superman: adaptive re-use for Providence’s skyline

When:  Feb 1, 2021 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (ET)

Saving Superman: adaptive re-use for Providence’s skyline (1 LU/HSW)

Saving Superman is an endeavor to preserve the Industrial Trust Building, known in Providence as the Superman Building. Placed on the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2019, RISD’s Department of Interior Architecture joined forces with Providence Preservation Society to explore the reuse of the Superman Building in the final semester of the MA in Adaptive Reuse Program. Equipped with data, historical context, opinions, ideas, and optimism, seven students engaged in immersive research and met with city planners, development consultants, local business stakeholders, and technical experts to design speculations for one of Providence’s—and Rhode Island’s—most urgent architectural, economic development, and public image issues.

Learning Objective 1:
Understand the significance of the National Trust for Historic Places and the local Providence Preservation Society’s “Most Endangered Places” designation

Learning Objective 2:
Become familiar with conceptual adaptive re-use strategies - including housing, community development and urban agriculture - for the skyscraper typology

Learning Objective 3:
Understand the innovative building technologies used in a historic 1928 skyscraper structure

Learning Objective 4:
Understand the framework for contemporary, historic, and future socioeconomic context for revitalization in a mid-sized historic downtown.


Jonathan Bell. AIA

Elizabeth Debs, AIA

Liliane Wong, AIA

Submissions are open for the 2021 11 Most Endangered Buildings List
Do you know an endangered historic site? The 11 Most Endangered Buildings List has identified more than 300 sites to date and has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts, that only a handful of sites have been lost.

Submit your application >