Students and Interior Design Educators

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The foundation of the interior design education is the design studio. In studio classes, interior design students practice developing solutions to design problems and expressing those solutions. This study was conducted in a capstone senior studio class. During a studio project, students designed interior rehabilitations for two historic buildings, converting these buildings into a conference center. Throughout the early design phases, students completed several activities developed by their instructors to inform their design outcomes. Students learned about the site, conducted research activities, and developed a concept presentation. Midway through designing, students wrote about their design decision influences; they found the site visit and the tour most influential. After completing and presenting their designs, students were again asked what pre-design phase activities most influenced their designs and design process. Now, students found the process of developing a design concept and studying Frank Lloyd Wright’s work the most influential activities. These findings are significant for design educators. First, they demonstrate that students do rely on and use their pre-design phase studio activities to inform design decisions. Secondly, what activities students find helpful changes throughout the design process. Prepared educators can plan activities for different design phases and prompt students about when to reconsider previous research.