BA INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE
Chloe Van der Kindere
Interior Architecture considers spaces from the perspective of the user and our starting point is always an existing building. We focus on the visceral experience of space to draw out atmosphere.
Using existing buildings as our design springboard allows us to assess what should be sustainably retained and what needs to be altered. Our projects are centred on the context within which our sites are located.
This year the urban and cultural context within which we designed has been diametrically shifted by the pandemic. We observed these changes and how they affected the spaces we used. This led us to reflect on how this period of change affected the wellbeing of our communities and to experiment with new types of spaces required to support our new life patterns.
In response to the pandemic, our students were often able to use sites they uncovered locally. This enabled us to have a rich exchange of cultures in our studios and to deepen our understanding and appreciation of the distinctive and layered spaces we encounter.
We have also engaged in wider projects this year with a series of workshop events with Imperial College for a ‘Co-Production Project on Mental Health, Design and Wellbeing’ and a course-wide competition event with the Royal Society of Arts – Design Students Awards.
IN FIRST YEAR students on the BA Interior Architecture course are introduced to underlying concepts and principles associated with the discipline and learn fundamental processes, skills and techniques relevant to conceive, develop, resolve and communicate spatial design proposals. They are also introduced to the use of graphic design, CAD and 3D modelling software. In the first semester students are set a range of assignments and short projects, such as: 2D representations, to convey information using collage and timelines; a bread construct, to investigate qualities of light and drawing conventions; and a group precedent study, to understand intent and architectural representation. Building on these skills they are then asked to design their first piece of interior architecture. This year, the challenge was to remodel a container (either a shipping container, a banana wagon or a horse box), to meet the needs of a single person with a specific passion. In the second semester, following research into types of opening, staircases and social buildings in differing time periods students were asked to consider contemporary social needs that address a post Covid era and recognise the environmental emergency. An existing disused Chapel building from 1900 was given as the site, and students had the challenge to re-configure the building and its surrounding area to meet their own programme of activities and proposed social interactions.
In second year, our interior students explored the design potential of ‘Work Hard – Play Hard’. This year we had to reconsider our living habits in response to the pandemic. The restrictions have altered the spaces and patterns of our work/social/family lives. Boundaries have been blurred and new habits were developed. This was a fertile ground for us to explore further. In the first term we looked specifically at the new territories we had carved out to work in. Whether it be our family dining tables, our bed or the garden shed, we have all had to be creative. We carefully surveyed these new spaces and reflected on how these worked with our personal design practice. We considered boundaries and the environments we required. With this information we started to develop ideas on how we could amend and improve our WORKSPACES to better suit our creative needs. We designed spatial devices to support our individual work practice within our homes. The second semester was an opportunity to go back into the city and consider ways to better support our community through PLAY. This started with an exploration of different forms of play. We researched a wide variety of charities and projects using play to empower, teach, bond and help members of our communities. We designed spaces to support our chosen project within Spitalfields Market, London. This urban landscape was tested, carved, bent and extended to create plays paces to nurture and challenge those around us.
Third year focused on the relationship between mental health, design and wellbeing. Drawing on conditions of isolation, our increased employment of digital tools, and inspired by the surrealists, term I began with a game of exquisite corpse: students paired up and co-created Exquisite Interiors, as composites of the space revealed in communication platforms, and that which needs to be imagined. With the guidance of practitioners, clinicians, experts and patient advocates as part of the Co-Production Workshop held with medical students from Imperial College, our group considered how design affects health and, how (pre)conditions of the mind inform the ways we perceive and design space. They pursued these ideas by designing Treat Trolleys for existing hospital sites, aimed to offer moments of comfort, pleasure and care. Term I concluded with innovative and transformative spatial propositions for the Marylebone Re-Treat(s), situated in our studio in 35 Marylebone Road, imagined to be requisitioned by the government for a post-covid centre. The Thesis Project is the main pursuit for Year 3 students. Each student identifies a host building and devises a programme based on analysis and personal design interests. Ideas are explored through an array of techniques including material experimentation, 3D scanning, and animation. The diversity of schemes and depth of speculation is indicated by the exhibited project descriptions and locations.Read More...