President’s House

Built circa 1894, the President’s House is a striking example of the Colonial Revival architecture popular at the time. The three-story brick and clapboard gambrel was originally built for Stephen O. Metcalf, son of RISD founders Jesse and Helen Rowe Metcalf and RISD’s treasurer from 1885–1950.

Metcalf turned to the Boston architecture firm of Andrews, Jacques and Rantoul for the design, which offers 21 spacious rooms, a grand entryway and 12-foot-high ceilings on the first floor. Principal August N. Rantoul's son, Talbot Rantoul, eventually went on to live in the house when he served as president of RISD from 1969–75.

In 1953 RISD acquired full ownership of the home from Metcalf’s son, George P. Metcalf, initially dividing it into two apartments available to faculty. Late President Albert Bush-Brown, who served from 1962–68, is believed to have been the first RISD president to live in the home full-time and establish its subsequent designation as the President’s House. It is currently is the primary residence for President Crystal Williams.

The President’s House features works of art by RISD professors and alumni of various disciplines and is frequently used to host special events and college-sponsored functions. RISD departments and divisions may request the use of the house for events, with approval granted at the discretion of the President’s Office.