Consistently regarded as among the best places to live on the East Coast, Rhode Island is perhaps best known for being the home of leading institutions such as Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. It is noted for its restored urban landscape and exceptional culinary and arts scene and is composed of numerous tight-knit communities spread across the area.
Rhode Island is often characterized by a quaint New England feel and subtle elegance. This list is a compilation of ten of its best and leading residential architects. These firms were chosen based on their various skill sets, portfolios, and backgrounds. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the cost of building a custom home in Providence, check out our cost guide article.
161 Exchange St., Pawtucket, RI 02860
Formerly known as Lerner Ladds Bartels, LLB Architects operates out of its office in Pawtucket and extends its services throughout the area. It provides a complete and comprehensive range of services and adheres to the highest standards. The firm is experienced in every phase and aspect of the entire process and utilizes a highly innovative approach. In 2011, the firm expanded and relocated to the Design Exchange and has since been regarded for its excellent use of adaptive reuse work. In 2018, it expanded again and established an office in Worcester. LLB infuses various sustainable techniques into its design, assuring homeowners of the sustainability of its work. It is a proud and active member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). In addition to this, the firm is composed of several LEED accredited professionals.
Since its inception, the firm has received countless distinctions. It has received awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and has also been regarded for its stellar historical preservation projects. The photo above best embodies the firm’s talent and expertise. Labeled in its portfolio as the “Westlook Residence,” this project encompassed a second-story addition, a flat roof, and a modern look.
One Central St., Providence, RI 02907
KITE Architects provides its clients a full range of architectural design services. These include feasibility studies, zoning and code reviews, interior design, and various consulting services for both new construction and extensive renovation projects. Since its establishment, the firm’s portfolio has grown with countless historic renovations and mid-century modern buildings. The firm has an excellent command of sustainable design and the ability to take on projects regardless of scale or complexity. It operates not only throughout Rhode Island but also in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and California. The firm draws inspiration from over five decades of industry experience and is overseen by its principals, Albert Garcia and Christine West.
Showcased above is the firm’s Charleston Beach House project. This home won the firm a Merit Award from the Rhode Island AIA back in 2018. It was designed to fit coastline standards and showcases wonderful views of the horizon together with a contemporary theme.
Cordtsen Design Architecture
42 W Main Rd., Middletown, RI 02842
Operating out of their office at the edge of Newport, Cordtsen Design Architecture is a full-service architectural firm specializing in luxury residential design and well-known hospitality, commercial, and healthcare projects. The award-winning firm is led by a carefully chosen team of talented and experienced architects and designers, each committed to the company’s core values and pursuit of the highest standards in the field of design. Emphasizing the importance of working closely with their clients throughout the entire design process, their seamless and highly collaborative approach has won the loyalty of a roster of legacy clients who work with no one else.
The home featured here is one example from their extensive portfolio demonstrating the firm’s talent and expertise. The Coastal Shingle Style design is complemented by massive contemporary windows, rooms opening onto open-air decks, and an interior catwalk allowing unparalleled ocean views.
Brewster Thornton Group Architects
317 Iron Horse Way Suite 202, Providence, RI 02908
Brewster Thornton Group Architects offers its clients expertise and insight into architecture, design, and master planning services. The firm’s portfolio depicts a wide range of residential spaces, in addition to education, community, preservation, and healthcare projects. Focusing on its residential work, however, it specializes in ground-up construction work, home additions, extensive renovations, and interior design. Despite its variety of work, the firm specializes in coastal projects, historic homes, and outdoor living spaces. Throughout the process, the firm is able to oversee all construction documents, conduct structural engineering coordination, and provide its clients with comprehensive 3D renderings. This allows for little to almost no revisions throughout the entire process. Since its founding, Brewster Thornton has worked on some of the best neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island and New England.
The project above is an example of the company’s expertise. Located in Easton Point, this project showcases main rooms that each have wonderful views of the nearby ocean. The firm designed the outdoor living spaces, terraces, and kitchen, and made use of its cedar shingles, conical roofs, and mahogany doors.
146 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903
3SIXØ Architecture operates out of two offices in Providence and Bleecker St., New York. The firm primarily utilizes contemporary materials and methods and is regarded for its excellent attention to detail. The firm is manned by a talented and experienced team of professionals, assisting clients with everything from start to finish. Uniquely, their process includes furniture design and urban landscape work, which has led the firm to many awards and distinctions from the AIA and others. The firm has also been featured in various publications such as Providence Business News, Architectural Record, and Boston Globe. Pictured below is one of the firm’s best works.
Labeled in its portfolio as the “Montauk Residence,” this project was a new home. It was based on the footprint of an existing house and showcases a geometric theme, using angular elements, overhangs, and excellent finishes.
Friedrich St. Florian
146 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903
Friedrich St. Florian extends its services throughout Providence and walks clients through the entire process. Since its inception, it has been regarded with countless distinctions from organizations like the AIA and has been published in a variety of magazines and books. The company is overseen by its principal and namesake. Friedrich received his master’s degree in architecture from the Technische Universidad in Graz, Austria, along with a master of science degree in architecture from Columbia University in New York. Since he received his license in 1974, St. Florian himself has won numerous awards for his architectural achievements. He is a proud Fellow of the AIA, which is the highest distinction that the organization bestows upon its members.
The project above was completed in the heart of Providence back in 2009. It is a new home that sits on the western slope of the historic College Hill. The project showcases an excellent modern design and features white cedar and taupe-tinted cement boards.
Couture Design Associates
12 Arnold St., Providence, RI 02906
Couture Design Associates specializes in custom homes, renovation, interior design, and historic preservation work. It operates out of its office in Providence and provides a complete and comprehensive range of services. Since its establishment, the firm has curated an outstanding portfolio with a wide variety of architectural themes. The company has completed work in several contexts, from urban settings to seaside lots and wooded sites. Couture is the proud recipient of numerous AIA distinctions. The firm also maintains affiliations with organizations like the Historic New England Board of Trustees and the Providence Historic District Commission.
The project above was completed in collaboration with Butera Builders and Odeh Engineers. For its landscaping, it worked with the professionals of Tupelo Gardenworks and for its interior millwork, it called on the talented experts of Jutras Woodworking.
Truth Box Architects
460 Harris Ave. Unit 104, Providence, RI 02909
Truth Box Architects is a small architectural firm that specializes in sustainable designs and a variety of project types. These include new single-family homes, extensive renovations, multi-family work, and commercial buildings. The company operates out of its office in Providence and has built a reputation for its sustainable development work. The firm is also regarded for its expertise in the design-build approach, allowing it to provide clients with all necessary services, lessening the challenge of having to look for additional subtractors and professionals. Truth Box is composed of an experienced team of architects, developers, designers, builders, and construction managers. Together, they have worked on numerous energy-efficient buildings. The firm is personally led by its founder, Peter Gill Case. He received his master’s in architecture from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and is regarded for his expertise in every aspect of the process.
The project above depicts the firm’s work on the Wagner Residence. It was completed in 2002 and sits on a hill overlooking a cattle ranch. It features great structural insulated panels on its roof and a great radiant floor heating system.
David Sisson Architecture
345 Taunton Ave., East Providence, RI 02914
Founded in East Providence, David Sisson Architecture is a full-service firm that extends its services throughout the nearby areas. It has also completed work in Massachusetts, New York, and Washington. Aside from its residential projects, it has also completed various commercial spaces and is noted for its great institutional architectural design, assisted living design, new construction and remodeling, and office and retail interior design. Otherwise known as DSA, the firm is a licensed and registered firm that can take on projects regardless of complexity. Our editorial team was also impressed by its extensive remodels, senior living, academic spaces, and office work. The project below is an excellent example of the company’s work.
Using a modern design, this home showcases flat roofs and trellised windows. It has beautiful paneled exteriors and clean finishes. Inside, its team opted for a contemporary theme to complement its exterior.