design thinkers

SLAM opens new office in Providence, RI

SLAM’s new 5,000-SF office space at One Davol Square in Providence, Rhode Island opened its doors in May. Pictured here (l-r): Mark Rhoades, AIA, managing principal for design, Catherine Ellithorpe, AIA, principal and Glenn Gollenberg, AIA, principal.

Providence, Rhode Island, June 8, 2021 — Nationally ranked A/E/C firm, SLAM (The S/L/A/M Collaborative), with offices in California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, adds Rhode Island to the roster, expanding its services to One Davol Square, a former mill building converted to first class office space, in the heart of Providence’s Jewelry District.

The 5,000-SF office is sized to accommodate SLAM’s planned growth in the primary market of education and secondary market growth in the corporate workplace and healthcare sectors. SLAM opens the office with eight employees with immediate plans to double the personnel by hiring locally based talent for ongoing projects. Team members support the one-firm practice rooted in a strong culture of delivering clients a seamless integration of expertise, mobility of resources nationwide, and long-term value throughout the lifespan of a project.

The Providence office will be managed by SLAM Principal Catherine “Cathie” J. Ellithorpe, AIA, who joined the firm in 1994 and has developed an expertise in the public education and corporate sectors.

“I’m honored to lead the firm’s new home in Rhode Island and provide our clients with a team located in their backyard,” says Catherine J. Ellithorpe, AIA. “We find the communities in Rhode Island open to exploring progressive approaches to educational design and they also have a high regard for sustainable and energy efficient structures. These are principles we embrace at SLAM; the synergy with our Rhode Island clients continues to grow. We are very excited to be a local firm.”

A priority of SLAM is to attract and retain graduates and interns through partnerships with area architectural schools that will help bolster the architectural profession in the state, while affording students the opportunity to work at a national firm.

Nearly 30 years ago, SLAM registered as a corporation in Rhode Island and began serving the states healthcare sector including, Lifespan partners: Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, and Bradley Hospital, Narragansett Indian Health Center, as well as Westerly Hospital – Yale New Haven Health. Following the firm’s longstanding relationship with the healthcare sector in the state, SLAM’s portfolio in the higher education sector began to significantly grow, paving a long and successful history of ongoing design work and partnerships with Providence College, Brown University, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island.

In 2007, SLAM entered the public education market, working with the Providence Public School District on various projects, including the notable Providence Career & Technical Academy and Field House.

“From the beginning, our team has felt at home doing business in Rhode Island,” says Glenn Gollenberg, AIA, SLAM principal. “Over the years, our momentum in higher education, complemented by consistent market growth into the K-12 public education sector led us to naturally solidify our roots in Rhode Island. I am hopeful the future will continue to provide opportunities for our talented team of experts in the design and programming/planning of K-12 educational spaces.”

More recently, SLAM completed two North Providence elementary schools, Stephen Olney and McGuire, and the design for the new Henry J. Winters STEAM Elementary School in Pawtucket, RI. The team is currently designing the new Rogers High School in Newport, RI.  These projects were designed to meet the New England CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) criteria. In addition, the design team is establishing an energy goal for the Rogers High School to be Net Zero Ready.

“Our approach to any project begins with a complex, yet accessible outcomes-based programming and planning model that considers the diverse perspectives and demographics of each stakeholder from superintendents and teachers to parents and community leaders,” says Mark Rhoades, AIA, SLAM managing principal for design. “Rhode Island is committed to making new, long-term investments in their school districts and they have demonstrated trust in our approach to creating life-long learners.”

SLAM’s design of flexible and adaptable learning spaces, in and outside of the classroom, are assisting Rhode Island’s schools in the development of knowledge and skillsets in early education. New to the state’s public education school system and within each grade cluster is a Learning Commons to facilitate small group learning and interaction amongst grade levels. This new concept replaces the traditional school “hallway” with educational spaces.

“SLAM’s commitment to the future of Providence and the state of Rhode Island is evidenced in the genuine partnerships they’ve developed over the years in many sectors including the Rhode Island Department of Education,” says Gilbane Senior Project Executive, William Bryan.  “Gilbane is proud of the work we’ve teamed on over the years including the more recent completion of North Providence’s Stephen Olney and McGuire Elementary Schools. We look forward to our continued collaboration in the many markets we serve.”

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SLAM (The S/L/A/M Collaborative) is a national multi-disciplinary design firm offering architecture, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, site planning, structural and civil engineering, pre-construction, with construction services offered throughout the New England region.  Our market focus is on higher education, K-12 public/private education, healthcare, corporate, athletic and recreation sectors. SLAM was ranked #1 in Education in the 2020 ENR Top New England Design Firms. Our infinite drive to unlock and solve complex design problems renders creativity in design to enrich lives. SLAM has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Glastonbury, CT, Iowa City, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Providence. Learn more about SLAM at