BA in Interior Design - New Undergraduate Major for Fall 2008

BA in Interior Design - New Undergraduate Major for Fall 2008

In the fall of 2008, the New Jersey School of Architecture will offer a new degree in interior design.  In the below interview, John Cays, associate dean at the architecture school, discusses the degree programs.

Why should students consider studying interior design?

Interior Design is shaping interior space by manipulating spatial volume as well as surface treatment. Interior design draws upon fields such as environmental psychology, architecture, industrial design and product design. It’s a demanding and rewarding career -- one that should not be confused with interior decorating.

Is there a strong demand for interior designers?

According to a report by The Brookings Institution, Americans will build more than 100 billion square feet of new space by 2030. And we’ll rehabilitate an almost equal amount of space. That means during the next 23 years we will build or renovate an amount of space that is nearly equal to the total existing space of today. Interior Designers will be called upon to design much of this new interior space. The demand for interior designers is expected to increase by some 17 percent over the next decade. Take the health care industry, for example. The baby boomers, a huge number of people, are aging and will soon need new and safer housing in which to live. Interior designers will work on designing space for them.  The hospitality industry—hotels, resorts, and restaurants—will also grow to accommodate an increase in tourism. Interior designers will continue to design that space, too.

Americans are demanding healthier work places and greener houses and products. Has that led to more jobs for Interior designers?

Companies today understand that productivity increases when employees benefit from a well designed work space. Companies are using designers to create office space that is pleasant and healthy for their workforce. Another trend is elder design, which is planning interior space so that older people can move freely and safely. An example is the widening of passageways to accommodate wheelchairs. And, as you can imagine, green design is immensely popular. Designers help their eco-friendly clients select furniture and carpets that are free of chemicals and hypoallergenic materials. They help them pick construction materials that are energy efficient and made from renewable resources.  They explain to them the entire life cycle analysis for their projects.

Why study interior design at NJIT?

First, the school of architecture offers a constellation of related programs.  It is the largest architecture program on the east coast and the only architecture school in New Jersey to house interior design, industrial design, digital design and fine arts all under one roof. All of these design programs relate to each other, and we encourage students to share ideas and to cross over into different areas. That synergy makes for a fertile breeding ground of creativity. Second, the NJ School of Architecture was the first architecture program in the nation to establish digital design studios for all of its students. It is also a national leader in Computer Aided Design, or CAD and the latest Building Information Modeling (BIM) practices. The Interior Design students will benefit from all of the school’s virtues. 

What does an interior designer do?

An interior designer develops commercial space for corporations -- designing floor space for employees. They also do the same for residential buildings and houses. They also design spaces used for display or for exhibiting products; they work on hospitality design, theater design, space planning, lighting design and interior architecture. The work they do is creative and exciting, and interior designers can choose which field they want to work in.

What will the students study?

The first year will give students a solid foundation in the principles of design. They’ll also study the liberal arts. Interior Design students will take classes with students in other concentrations – such as digital design and fine arts. After their freshman year, students may continue in Interior Design or switch to Industrial Design, Fine Arts or Digital Design. We want them to explore and find what they love best.

The program will teach students how to research and analyze information; evaluate solutions through the language of visual art; create exciting and unexpected solutions; and learn from peers and mentors in small and focused studio classes, where they’ll get a lot of personal attention from their professors. Interior design students have access to traditional fine art studios, as well as state-of-the-art computer aided design (CAD) and digital media labs. The school also uses a new design methodology called Building Information Modeling (BIM), which is used now for all types of design. BIM allows designers to evaluate such things as the environmental impact, the cost and schedule of a design project. Our students all practice with BIM as part of their design education. And after they graduate, experience with these techniques, combined with their mastery of design principles, will help position them as leaders on the cutting-edge of the design profession.

Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design (694 KB, pdf)

(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)