Prefabricated Interior Studios: A Multi-Year Study of Prefabricated Interior Design

By Deborah Schneiderman and Kara Freihoefer.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

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

This paper examines the integration of prefabrication into a series of Interior Design Studios; three utilizing a prefabricated steel building as a site, and one with Amtrak train cars as a site. A review of the literature revealed that while there is a paucity of categorical research focused on Prefabricated Interior Design, the subject is historically significant with an abundance of evidence regarding the prefabrication of the interior environment dating back thousands of years. At the end of one of the semesters, students were questioned about their education, attitudes, and professional objectives toward Prefabricated Interior Design. The survey uncovered that students feel Prefabricated Interior Design is “unrepresented” in historical content and the professional practice. The survey also revealed that students’ initial awareness of prefabrication in Interior Design is weak, however, with the implementation of the topic into a studio-based course, their attitudes and perceptions toward prefabrication heightened. Studio project work revealed innovative prefabricated interior solutions and incorporated sustainable strategies. It is a critical challenge for the Interior Designer to consider not only the typical scenario of design for building interiors but to also consider emerging specialties within the discipline. The incorporation of Prefabricated Interior Design into an atypical non-architectonic environment addresses this need for expanded specialties within the practice of Interior Design. This teaching study’s examination of interior design in a non-traditional environment demonstrates a necessity and enthusiasm for alternative approaches to interior design pedagogy.

Keywords: Interior Design, Architecture, Sustainability, Prefabrication, Train, Mobile

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.43-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.516MB).

Prof. Deborah Schneiderman

Associate Professor, Department of Interior Design, School of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Deborah Schneiderman is an Associate Professor of Interior Design in the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute, and a registered architect and LEED Accredited Professional. Professor Schneiderman received her MArch in Architecture from SCI-Arc and her BS in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University. Before becoming a design educator, Professor Schneiderman founded deSc architecture/design/research with a focus in environmentally sustainable design. Her research explores sustainable built environments, the integration of sustainability into the design curriculum, and sustainability and prefabrication. Recent publications include “A Pre- and Post-Evaluation of Integrating Sustainability Curriculum by Inserting Okala Modules Into an Interior Design Materials and Methods Course” in The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Chapter “Integrating Sustainability into Design Curriculum” in Sustainability at Universities–Opportunities, Challenges and Trends, ed. Walter Leil Filho, and her book Inside Prefab: The Ready-made Interior, published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Kara Freihoefer

PhD Candidate, Interior Design, University of Minnesota, USA