The MFA in Design prepares students with an emphasis in Interior Architecture to perform work that expands the scope and nature of design practice and theory. The main objective of the program is preparing students to conduct interdisciplinary research, reflecting faculty conviction that this mode of inquiry will be essential for the next generation of leaders in design. While potential research topics are limitless, a few areas of focus include affordable housing, universal design, application of technology to interior use (wayfinding, information access, healthy environments, energy use), and the diverse expressions of interior architecture found in world cultures.
MFA students take classes in design theory, research methodology and writing, professional practice and ethics, and studio practice. The faculty assumes that interior architecture students possess the design and graphic skills to develop and represent ideas visually. For those lacking these skills, undergraduate courses are available on a remedial or elective basis (see below). The faculty values work that is innovative and creative, especially in the application of design to improve people’s lives and advance the common good. Through the thesis, students can delve deeply into a subject area of personal interest and social relevance. The thesis encompasses two related components: research that culminates in a publication-quality paper, and an architectural design that is based on that research. Consistent with the emphasis on interdisciplinarity, students are expected to reach out to scholars, activists and peers, both within design and beyond, as possible sources of knowledge, feedback and collaboration.
DES 156, Graphitecture: Architecture in the Age of New Media
DES 166, Human-Centered Design
DES 167, Prototyping: From Objects to Systems
DES 180A & DES 180B, Advanced Interior Architecture Studio
The Department of Design recently completed a phase of improvements to its facilities and equipment for model making, prototyping and object creation. In addition to a well-appointed wood shop and multimedia computer print lab, the Department offers laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC machine. Other resources include the Jo Ann C. Stabb Design Collection, which consists of 5,000 design artifacts; the Shrem Museum of Art, a new building with advanced facilities for viewing and studying art and design; and, the California Lighting and Technology Center (CLTC), a renowned facility for research into energy savings through electric and natural lighting. With the completion of the new addition to Cruess Hall in 2021, the Department anticipates further expansion and enhancements of its “maker-spaces.”