Katrina Machado


About Me

Beacon Public Library 

Expanding radical civic care for an uncertain future 

Beacon Public Library (BPL) is part-speculation, part-systems design proposal for asserting and expanding the role of the public library as a civic space for radical care and community resilience in the face of climate change. This work explores the ways in which the public library could adapt to the needs of its changing environment and community.


Stressors like climate change will put strain on our communities, making them more vulnerable.


Design research was both exploratory and experimental. Primary and secondary research—through interviews, surveys, and reviews of academic literature—was paired with low-fidelity prototyping and sketching. This collection of experiments culminated in a book of tidbits: maps, sketches, collages, and personal and fictional essays. Produced in 2021, the thesis book is an exploration of what design research can look like within the demands and constraints of a global pandemic.


Compiled in a book, I proposed a public library that pushes the bounds of its physical building and actively and compassionately serves residents in and across spaces. Sited in Providence, RI, this work explores Providence’s climate change future and the public library’s role in building more resilient community in uncertainty.

I visualized interventions in the form of a librarian’s jumpsuit and apron, an adapted library book cart, public signage, and a library card. The artifacts of these interventions make librarians visible and accessible, establishing their role as essential providers of expanded community services. They make BPL public-facing, critical, and adaptable, for both crisis and non-crisis climate scenarios.


I was awarded the Master of Industrial Design Thesis Award for this work in 2021. In summer 2021, this body of work was presented to a group at the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic research and design team for the City of Boston, MA.
︎Book excerpt: Final artifacts + intervention
︎Book excerpt: Visualizing design research + processes

Graduate Thesis*
Master of Industrial Design

Rhode Island School of Design

*Master of Industrial Design Thesis Award Recipient

Contributions: independent student project involving design research, ideation, design, writing, production, visual design

Providence, RI

Fall 2020–Spring 2021


For more info:
︎Full Thesis Book

︎RISD Museum web exhibit

︎Recorded Presentation
of Final Work