Innovative Teaching Ideas
Bed and Breakfast Space Planning
Students working in teams of five representing a diversity of majors space planned a Bed & Breakfast Inn converted from a Victorian home. Client program data, floor plans, and project execution criteria guided the teams in their solutions, including the completed furnishings plan and written description of how the space was designed.
Center for Awareness of Global Issues
Students identified an area of personal concern regarding a global issue, and then designed a conference facility for diverse groups of temporary residents. The design promoted "community" among the participants for the purpose of generating thought and insights in dealing with the selected issue.
Color Selection and Comparison
Students are asked to select a single space, but two contrasting programmatic functions. Students are then asked to create an appropriate image, employing a desired color scheme, depicting their concepts in plans, perspectives, diagrams, logos, and other graphic imagery.
Creative Problem Solving
Students are asked to use creative problem solving techniques to design an ideal living environment. They are asked to go beyond the current model, as they explore options, which take individuals from birth to death. Their solutions are to be presented pictorially with minimal explanatory text in a format as creative as their solution.
Design Philosophy, Process and Concept
Students are encouraged to examine design philosophy, design process, and concept development. Through reading contemporary practitioners' design philosophies, students identify ideas they can incorporate into their own emerging design philosophies as well as procedures they can use to identify appropriate design processes and concept development
procedures for future design projects.
This exercise provides a non-linear diagrammatic way of thinking and means of identifying the parameters of a problem. Key relationships are analyzed, compared and arranged in hierarchical order, grouped in categories, and graphically linked for clarity and definition. Gestalt principles of order provide valuable clues for managing graphic information and conveying appropriate meanings. New relationships are discovered and idea production is enhanced. Students become more thorough problem solvers, handle issues of greater complexity, and produce more novel ideas. Methods used in the exercise encourage students to think comprehensively, encounter and solve problems without focusing narrowly or too soon on end products.
Documentation of Historic Detail
Students were asked to select an architectural or decorative detail or form that had its beginnings in one of the earliest documented art periods. Students were to "trace" the use of the element throughout history. Written documentation, illustrations and a graphic time line representing its use in various periods were required.
Dolls, Dinosaurs and Design
The impact of the environment on personal well-being and development is well established. Interior design students may benefit from an understanding of the special housing needs and preferences of children. To facilitate this understanding, interior design students were paired with children in a university's early childhood laboratory to simulate the designer-client relationship. A customized space was designed for each child, based on research and personal interviews conducted between the designer and client.
Healthcare Design Project
The design of healthcare facilities presents an opportunity to affect people in what is often a very stressful time in their lives. Uncertainty and often trepidation is associated with visits to healthcare facilities of various types. Perhaps this is due to our focus on healing rather than wellness, or disease versus health. Regardless, stress levels are increased with most visits to healthcare facilities. Patients, families, staff, and physicians are but some of the users affected by the design of these facilities.
While this project focuses on a healthcare facility in this country, it attempts to look at the subject through a much broader lens. How do we design for children, some who come into the world the size (and sometimes the color) of a pound of butter? Or, for those elderly people whose poorly functioning joints decrease their comfort and ability to navigate? How do we design for their families, doctors, nurses, and care partners? How do we make a difference? This project includes work at both small and large scales – at the scale of furniture and detail within a space to the scale of the facility itself. The project asks us to question how our work fits within a global view of health and how it can inform beyond the limits of our selected subject matter.
This project requires students to be exposed to historic design idioms and forces reinterpretation of those idioms into the current design vocabulary taught in the class. The project requires team effort and cooperation. It is the first project, which has the ability to influence the physical environment with its drastic jump in scale from previous micro scale to full-scale mock-ups.
In order to make History of Interior Design more interesting, accessible and less dependent on slides, I have evolved a method, which also encourages other skills. The first half of the lecture I sketch all relative furniture forms and interiors, labeling parts, characteristic motifs, and detailing construction which the students copy.
Immersion Week: Beauty is Only Skin Deep
Just how far does design accountability reach? We focus a lot on aesthetic concerns and whether or not most people can adequately negotiate a space, but what about the intangibles, such as unintentionally polluted air and unintentionally created barriers?