Effective Ways of Teaching Interior Design with Community Linkage

By Maria A Sipos.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Traditional studio projects are limited in the opportunity afforded by “real-world” experiences. Community-situated projects with well developed sets of requirements add an entirely new and multifaceted experiential dimension to the learning process. The senior interior design studio at Eastern Michigan University partnered with the Ann Arbor Veteran Administration Healthcare System (VA) to develop the interior design for the Psychiatric Care Ward (PCW) project. Students worked on the project while receiving mentoring and guidance from practicing professionals from the VA and studio faculty.
From a teaching perspective the active participation in a “community of practice” provided students with an awareness of the surrounding community. It allowed students to acquire and use design skills grounded in real practice. Students were exposed to health care design principles and methodology. Using a team approach to design further enhanced communication and negotiating skills.
We will review the challenges, outcomes, and reflections related to the working relationship with a community-based health-care partner for interior design studio projects.

Keywords: Holistic Approach to Design Education, Community of Practice, Healing Environment, Team Work, Experiential Learning, Academic Service Learning (ASL)

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.207-218. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.158MB).

Prof. Maria A Sipos

Assistant Professor, Interior Design Program, School of Engineering Technology, College of Technology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Born in Romania, I studied Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Architecture and Urban Planning, “Ion Mincu”, in Bucharest. After moving to United States I graduated with a Masters in Art in Interior Design from Wayne State University. I worked for 15 years doing corporate interiors. For five years I taught at Lawrence Technological University in the College of Architecture and Design and presently I teach in the Interior Design Program at Eastern Michigan University.


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