What do Interior Architects Do?
Interior architects draft plans to create or refinish spaces in private homes or commercial buildings with their clients’ tastes in mind. Each job may require interaction with different clients, additional architects or designers, construction teams and inspectors. In creating plans for a particular space, they take into account interior construction, lighting, and furnishings. Interior architects must also be aware of federal, state, and local building regulations so their designs are up-to-code.
A typical program for the Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture degree is a four-year program focusing on the design of architectural interiors with a particular focus on sustainability, materiality, color theory, lighting, and the social and cultural aspects of habitable space. Most programs have 120 -132-semester hours that includes General Requirements, Core Courses, and most likely Electives, as well.
At some schools, because of the mutual and overlapping bonds of Architecture, Industrial Design, and Interior Architecture, the programs may share a common first-semester curriculum. This translates to a mixture of Interior Architecture and Architecture classes. The latter might include Architectural History, an Architectural Design Studio, along with a math and/or physics course.
Architecture + Design
There are schools whose Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Architecture program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). This program accentuates the creative aspect of the design and planning of interior spaces. Students learn to integrate the art of design with the social sciences. In this endeavor, the program views interior architecture as it concerns the interaction between people and their environment. Classes may involve the history of design, as well as the physical sciences relating to the effects of materials on the physical health and comfort of inhabitants.
The design is an integral component of the interior architecture. Many schools refer to their degree as a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture and Design. Professionals who design a building’s interior are responsible for everything that influences the perception and use of the space. They create everything inside from the overall form, acoustics, and lighting to signage and graphics. They design or specify its furnishings and finishes. The design of all of these components determines how well the building’s interior meets the needs of both the building’s owner and its users.
Visual + Ergonomics
Therefore, first-year classes should include an introductory design studio directed towards the development of spatial thinking and the skills necessary for the analysis and design of architectural space and form. This course includes direct observation: drawing, analysis, and representation of the surrounding world, and full-scale studies in the making of objects and the representation of object and space.
As mentioned above, there is the perception of the design. The interior architect cannot omit the human factors in the profession. A class in this subject covers the field of human factors (ergonomics) appropriate to industrial, interior, and visual design. Other factors to consider are human capabilities, human-machine interfaces and system properties, and the environment.
Utilities + Comfort
Additional classes might address human needs and comfort in relation to the natural and fabricated environments. Specific classes in this area may include natural lighting, electrical lighting systems, electrical power distribution systems, alternative energy sources, communication systems, plumbing, transportation, and life safety systems. Some programs lump these topics into one class. Others have individual classes in lighting design, health and safety, interior materials, and construction materials and methods.
Specific topics related to the environmental challenges may include classes in climate and weather, environmental health, indoor air quality, and thermal comfort. Some curriculum may address design strategies for heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning, building acoustics, mechanical noise control, and building management systems.
Structure + Communication
Though the nature of the business concentrates on the interior, it is beneficial to have an understanding of the structural components of the building. You gain this knowledge in classes that introduce the materials, processes, and craft of construction. You will have a grasp of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of construction systems and assemblies. Additional class work may study a conceptual framework to bridge between the physical conditions of construction and the more abstract processes of design.
The role of an interior architect entails communication. When selecting a program, it should comprise classes in advanced writing, visual communication, and public speaking. Further assistance, in dealing with colleagues and clients, is a course in General Psychology. Furthermore, a class in written communication examines the art of rhetoric in non-fiction and persuasive arguments. For example, students learn to support their points of view with research, logic, and argumentation through critical readings of contemporary opinion pieces. In turn, they express their own opinions on internationally relevant topics in written, thesis-based essays.
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