Defining The Field: A web based resource for evolving definitions of interior architecture. Authors: Julia Dwyer, Glenn Longden-Thurgood, Stefano Santilli
Prescriptive, fixed definitions of design disciplines can restrict the ability of design-linked academic programmes to anticipate and respond to the shifting conditions of contemporary society. Design disciplines have ‘soft’ boundaries. A project–based approach to design practice requires design solutions to the problems addressed: the training and practice associated with specific design disciplines may be too narrow to support the designer in finding appropriate answers. Design courses have to evolve in relation to the changing nature of design issues and social change. When they do alter, and new directions in design education begin, the problem of definition arises in a different form. Graduates from the Interior Architecture degree course at the University of Brighton find themselves needing to define ‘interior architecture’ when they apply for jobs, and academic staff continually define and redefine I.A. to prospective and current students as well as their academic colleagues.
The ‘Defining the Field’ project proposes a dynamic model for defining the subject field, which creates an awareness of current and emerging practice. In collaboration with Dr Stan Stanier of the University of Brighton Information Services, and with the support of a grant from the Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE), a web based resource and forum has been established which invites students and practitioners from within the field of Interior Architecture to cite exemplar projects and position themselves within the discipline.
The aims of the project are to:
The pilot version of this project started in January 2007. A review has been carried out to highlight operational and content-based issues. Initial conclusions are that current students have responded well both to the website and to the debate that its existence has provoked within the I.A. course, but that graduates have been less responsive.
The site is still running on the University of Brighton intranet and is a continuing project which has been incorporated into the Interior Architecture course programme.
The Website can be seen at: http://community.brighton.ac.uk/dtf/ (currently University of Brighton members only).
Funding Body: Centre for Education in the Built Environment.