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Aug 29, 2016 6:21 EDT

SouthLight: The new front door of The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island – an Open Performance Venue and Urban Lawn

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 29, 2016


The new front door of The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island – an Open Performance Venue and Urban Lawn.

About this project



SouthLight is an exciting new performance venue in Upper Southside of Providence! Located behind the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island (SCCRI) at 393 Broad Street, thisoutdoor performance venue surrounded by a new urban lawn will be the first of its kind in the Southside! All the fabulous productions and talents of our local cultural groups will now be more visible and more connected to neighborhood life at day and night. More evening activity in the neighborhood will help make it a safer place for our families to be. 

The open performance venue has translucent white walls and roof. At night the house will gently glow with light. During events, each wall can open up entirely, turning the venue into a canopy with a natural garden backdrop. The venue and lawn will be available for performances, public and private events Spring through Fall via SCCRI. 

Over the past year, the project has evolved through a community-driven design process that has connected residents with Rhode Island School of Design student designers, city agencies, local non-profits, and spirited community members.

Here on Kickstarter we’re striving to raise $5,000 to complete the finishing details before the Huge Opening Party! We need YOU to help us with a final push as we plant the landscaping, paint the asphalt and clean up the site. 

Show your support for your community and beautifying the neighborhood! Pledge SouthLight! 

There are nine community groups eager to try out their drums, dance, storytelling, improv, art lectures, and plays on the new stage! Not to mention cultural celebrations on the lawn!


View from urban lawn towards venue
View from urban lawn towards venue



View inside venue facing SCCRI
View inside venue facing SCCRI

The covered venue can accommodate 140 seated guests under one roof! It’s made from a light steel frame and translucent polycarbonate panels so inside can be daylit and outside can glow at night. We imagine concerts, performances, fairs, processions, block parties, weddings, family reunions, quinceañeras, and holiday celebrations to happen here! Every side of the pavilion can open entirely events to use the lawn simultaneously. The venue will come equipped with LED lighting for performances and private events. Once we build the building, we plan to add custom, flexible seating and black box theater elements!


Design accommodates events inside, outside and in-between!
Design accommodates events inside, outside and in-between!


Plantings between the lawn and the sidewalk
Plantings between the lawn and the sidewalk

The new urban lawn can seat an additional 300 people. We imagine the lawn as a safe place for kids to play, a place for receptions after indoor events, and a meeting place for neighbors! Visitors to the lawn can appreciate Providence’s lovely weather. The colorful landscaping will help set the mood of any event. The lawn will be framed by landscaping and trees, coordinated to be beautiful and colorful in all seasons. We also strive to use low-maintenance local species with the most bang for the buck!

And, by the way, with new signage on both sides of the SCCRI and night lighting, the building will have a stronger neighborhood presence than ever before! 

From a technical perspective, the design will help mediate stormwater runoff from SCCRI’s primary building and reduce the heat island effect. The pavilion will have LED lighting to decrease energy use. A planned solar installation will offset the entire energy use of the pavilion and reduce energy costs for SCCRI. Altogether, SouthLight will be an model for sustainable community design throughout the Northeast. 


Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island: 393 Broad Street, Providence, RI, 02907. Once you visit, it will become your regular entertainment venue of choice! 


Our team has been working on various designs since February 2014. Visit our facebook page to see the journey! 

We broke ground on June 23 and will continue construction through August 2016.



(Left to Right) Natasha, Will, Sina, Yin, Yasmin, Aaron, Sarp, Rahul, Daniel, Quinn, Qi, Feiyi, Genevieve!!!
(Left to Right) Natasha, Will, Sina, Yin, Yasmin, Aaron, Sarp, Rahul, Daniel, Quinn, Qi, Feiyi, Genevieve!!!

We are a hands-on design team of architects, landscape architects, and artists advanced in their studies at Rhode Island School of Design. Collectively, we manage the design and construction of SouthLight from the largest scope to the details of every inch of the site. We also work on the long term plan for SouthLight with local groups. In our free time we like to explore our neighborhoods and look for ways to contribute. We believe in beautiful communal spaces for all, sharing creative talent, elegant night lighting, and that learning together let’s us grow together! 

 We are mentored by professionals in the architecture and construction industry, city officials, and community leaders. 

 We are trained in aesthetics, structure, maintenance of buildings and landscape, and construction. 

 We see worth in investing our time, education, and efforts to better our world.

Regular design meeting with the community
Regular design meeting with the community


The venue's foundation in progress!
The venue’s foundation in progress!


We have received generous support from ArtPlace America, Rhode Island School of Design, and Rhode Island Housing and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). These grants cover the major elements of the project, such as structural steel and sitework. However we still need help providing the finishing touches that give our community the finished project they deserve. Your pledge towards our $5,000 GOAL will go into a fund to help us buy lighting fixtures, plants and stage elements that fit SCCRI’s maintenance plan and meet our aesthetic standards. 

$10,000 STRETCH GOAL! If we raise $10,000 we can build custom furniture for the venue!!!!

When you become a backer of SouthLight, you help make the biggest impact for your dollar! Our SouthLight Team is working throughout the summer to build the best project for the community within our limited budget. We have a deep gratitude for all our contributors, so our rewards are of high value and are geared to introduce all contributors to SCCRI! 

Every dollar donated goes towards building SouthLight, managed by Rhode Island School of Design. 


Faculty Leads: Laura Briggs, Aaron Forrest, Elettra Bordonaro

Faculty Advisors: Sina Almassi, Jonathan Knowles, David Dilks, James Dean, Yasmin Vobis, Jim Barnes, Brett Schneider, Wilbur Yoder

RISD Student Design-Build Team: Yin Fu, Sarp Arditi, Daniel Stone, Qi An, Genevieve Marsh, Rahul Ghera, Feiyi Bie, Natasha Ruiz, Xichen Que, William Gant


We have an amazing network of partners that we are working to build upon every day.

Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island houses SouthLight in the back parking lot, will maintain it, manage it , rent it and fill it with their cultural programming.

Local Residents & Organizations have helped guide the design to fulfill pressing and long term neighborhood needs.

Rhode Island School of Design Faculty & Student Designers have guided SouthLight into a gorgeous and buildable form. They will also be the day-to-day construction crew.

The City of Providence, Arts Culture & Tourism has mentored SouthLight since the beginning, helping secure funding and partnerships. 

Local Initiatives Support Corporation has financially supported and worked to connect the project to other vital community organizations.

ArtPlace America gave us the grant that allowed us to start the project.

Shawmut Design and Construction, especially Kyle Lloyd, has advised the construction side of the project. Shawmut even provided safety training and equipment for the student construction crew!

Social Light Movement has helped us design high quality lighting within our budget.

Rhode Island Housing has given us a grant! 

Jake Buie built out our tool container!

Previous RISD Student Designers: Saba Yazdjerdi, Alexander Kim, Yifan Kong, Khue Truong, Peter Kim, Jingyan Zhang, Jing Li, Tianyu Xu, Amy Long, Song Du, Nandi Lu, Senbo Yang, Robert Sugar, Renee Jensen

Risks and challenges

This is a real construction project with building permits (which have already been secured), suppliers, and subcontractors. This means we have an emergency fund in our budget and in our timeline, but something unexpected on site could occur causing temporary imbalance.

Contact Information:

SouthLight Design Build

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