Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) was founded in 2002 to bring together a diverse group of people with an interest in Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics in face-to-face workshops, symposia, seminars, and other meetings to educate and support research and understanding of the many facets of Synergetics, its methods and principles.
Synergetics is the system of comprehensive thinking which R. Buckminster Fuller introduced and began to formulate. Synergetics is multi-faceted: it involves geometric modeling, exploring inter-relationships in the facts of experience and the process of thinking. Synergetics endeavors to identify and understand the methods that Nature actually employs in coordinating Universe (both physically and metaphysically). Synergetics provides a comprehensive method and a philosophy for problem-solving and design and therefore has applications in all areas of human endeavor.
Founded in 1937 by long-time faculty member Edna Lawrence [RISD 1920], Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab inspires countless art and design projects throughout the college and beyond. Its hands-on natural history collection and studio environment offers the opportunity to examine and explore the patterns, structures and interactions of design in nature.
The Lab offers unmediated access to more than 80,000 authentic natural history specimens, while also fostering creative inquiry into biomimetics, biophilic design, ecology, and climate change. High-end microscopes, high-speed cameras and other advanced imaging systems give members of the RISD community access to living and non-living specimens at multiple scales and provide an engaging platform for examining myriad connections between artistic and scientific study. The Nature Lab furthers RISD’s hands-on approach to learning by enabling students to investigate ethical, sustainable modes of making informed by natural systems and designed to benefit the environment. Ultimately, it helps everyone who makes use of our resources better understand and articulate the role we play as humans in the ecosystem.
Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Begun in a bookcase in the Hoppin Homestead building, the books were moved to the Waterman Building when it opened in 1893, settling in a number of rooms before relocating to what is now the Nature Lab, a proper library with a librarian, Eliza Buffington, in 1909. Outgrowing that location, the RISD Library moved to an elegant space in the newly built College Building in 1937.
Library collections include more than 166,000 volumes and 338 periodical subscriptions (print) and offer unusual depth and richness in the areas of architecture, art, design and photography. The library is noted for its artists’ book collection, its rare books and visual and material resource collections.
In the summer of 2006 the Library moved into a new facility in the first two floors of the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust bank at 15 Westminster Street directly across the river from the RISD Auditorium.
The Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies Concentration (NCSS) is a 21-credit concentration that allows RISD students to construct a pathway for undergraduate environmental education working across liberal arts and the studio departments. While housed-in and administered-by the Division of Liberal Arts, the NCSS is an all-college interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration. The concentration allows students to create their own pathway of study drawn from the fields of: sustainable design, the environmental social sciences, the environmental humanities, social and environmental justice studies, the environment, and the fine arts.