This is the transcript for the video Bachelor of Design in Interior Architecture

Luke Tipene:

Okay. Hello, everyone. My name is Luke Tipene. I’m the course director of interior architecture at UTS. Just seeing a lot of people filter in now, so I’m just going to give it a few moments and let everyone come in as the numbers are going up. If you wouldn’t mind hanging tight for a moment, and then we’ll get started in just a second. Okay. It looks like numbers have leveled off there, so I think we’ll get started. Again, welcome, and hello to the UTS open day, 2021. I’m Luke Tipene, and I’m the course director for the bachelor of design and interior architecture. We’re joined by one of our alumni here, Emilia Lin. She’ll be talking today as well. Before we get started, I just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that we’ll be recording this session, and just so that you’re aware how we’ll be using that information as well.

I’d also like to start by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora nation on whose ancestral lands the city’s campus is standing now. We’d also like to pay our respects to their elders past, present, and emerging, and acknowledge they’re the traditional custodians of the knowledge of the land, which we feel is quite fitting, being an institution of knowledge, acknowledging the fact that that knowledge still exists in that land. What I’d like to do today is just spend a bit of time this morning here talking through the structure of the interior architecture program at UTS. I’ll do that by speaking through the main streams that we have, which are the design streams, the communication streams, and then our honors program. Then I’m also going to hand over to Emilia, who we thought would be great. She’s incredibly capable and one of our brightest students, so we thought we’d have her come in here and speak about her student experience moving through the program, so you can get a bit of a sense of a student perspective on their experience moving through the degree.


Thanks, Luke. Yeah, I’ll be speaking at the end of the session.

Luke Tipene:

Good. I’ll be handing over to Emilia after I run through the presentation here. What we have here is a breakdown of how the program really looks. It’s a three-year program with a one year additional honors year available to it. The program runs two semesters per year. In each of those semesters, generally students take three subjects per semester. What you can see here on the screen is the first year, second semester, and second, third year, of course, but in the first year, each semester has a design studio, and then it’s followed by a communications and construction subject. That travels through each semester for the entire degree. In our first year as well, we have a history and theory component, and then in the higher two years, when students have a bit of a understanding of the foundations, we have electives that are available for our students to take in second and third year.

Then, again, just in that final fourth year, optional fourth year, what we have there is it’s an honors year, which prepares students with a higher level of skills and specialized knowledge that gives them a cornerstone when they get out there into the industry. Before jumping into detail, the questions for this session, if you have questions, there’s a question option, a Q&A chat which is going around. That’s available on the UTS website, so you should go there and ask questions there. We have some of our members from the interior program who will be manning that chat today and next Tuesday, so please ask those questions if you have them.

Also, I’d like to pause and just say, really, interior architecture, what is it about at UTS? What’s the driving theme that sits with everything we do here? For us, really, our program speaks to this idea of putting people first is one of the strongest things that we carry through our entire program. What does that mean? It means that we put the human, the body, people and culture at the center of how we go about designing spaces. As you’ll see when I start talking through our design subjects, really, we look to have this human centric focus be the backbone of how we go through each one of our design studios. What I’ll do now is talk through the design studios across those six design studios, two in first year, two in second year, and two in third year.

I’ll speak through them briefly. I’ll also speak through then the communication and construction subjects, and then talk a little bit about honors. What you see here is the first of our design studios, which is first year design studio for our students that come into first year. This subject, as I mentioned, we have this idea of focusing on people and putting people at the center of our design practice. Here that really is embodied through the design projects where students look to start by designing experiences through things that they can wear and make. This is a wonderful exercise for our first year students, where they have this opportunity to come in and be incredibly creative and explore these ideas of experiences and how we actually construct things like atmospheres and those kinds of relational situations that we can work with through things like materials and sounds, and working on site.

The second design studio then, going from this idea of these foundational skills in being highly creative and innovative in terms of making these material assemblages, we bring that into some of the core skills and knowledge around interior practices. In this semester, we have our students work with historic properties in Sydney and working with real artists and designers. What they’re asked to do is to come up with the idea of a creative hub for a kind of alteration and addition of existing residences within Sydney, and then altering them so that they are suitable for these new clients, which are artists and designers as a maker space for them, really embedding some of those key foundational skills in interior architecture, things like space planning and material analysis.

Then in our second year, again, with this theme of the body, our students move into the idea of performance studies and performance design. They do a set design piece with actual set designers and directors that we bring in for the students to be able to work within this program. So, increasing in complexity and increasing in scale. Following that, we move into a new subject, which is a subject on knowledge spaces. This is specifically looking at getting students to design interior designs for what we call the glam sector, which is galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. Students are looking at things like the choreography of how people move through space, concepts of spatial narratives, as well as that relational relationship between the body, objects in space that are curated, and then the space itself.

Then next, so at the beginning of our third year, our students do a design studio called spatial agency, and this studio is an on country studio where students have the opportunity to work and consult with indigenous communities locally in Sydney, as well as regionally in broader New South Wales. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our students to really work with real clients where many of the designs that are put forward are speculations that will hopefully one day be built. In terms of keeping with this theme of putting people first, this particular studio increases the scale of that idea, so now we look at things like community infrastructure and start to think about how we can support community at a broader scale, using spatial design at that broader scale, but still with that focus on putting people first.

Then finally, so after the five studios that proceed it, this increasing level of complexity of looking at putting people first in our spatial design practices, students then finish the three years with a major project here, and the major project here is, again, a larger scale again, looks at the idea of the urban interior. If that’s the progression through the six design studios, then I’ll just briefly here speak through the subjects that accompany those design studios, which are communications and construction subjects. These subjects really provide a backbone of skills and knowledge that enables students to really do a lot of the work that they can do in their design studios.

It starts in first year, again, with our first subject here, which is representations. This really provides a foundation for students of how to represent their ideas and some of the core representational systems that we use using interior spaces. So, things like axonometric and orthographic projection, as well as things like perspectives. In the second semester then, in first year, we use this subject to really introduce students to the concepts of how interior spaces are constructed in a material sense, with a real heavy emphasis on actual material practices and what are materials, how do we work with them? How do we research them? How do we know what they can do, and how do we know to push them and use them in particular ways? This is a wonderful construction subject which introduces them to the nature of basic construction, but also to material practices and research, and ideas of sustainability with materiality.

Beginning of our second year, we increase again in complexity, and so this is a communication and construction subject where we look at the idea of material futures. So, what are the high technology materials that are available and that are going to be available in the future, and how do we have our students engage with those high tech practices that are starting to drive a lot of industry focus? Here, we teach our students to use things like all of our 3D technology, so 3D renderings and 3D visualization, as well as 3D modeling and CNC routing and 3D printing as well. Next, we have at the end of second year, this construction subject, which introduces students to really a foundational knowledge in professional levels of things like detailing interior spaces.

This subject is really geared towards an introduction to how students would go about developing and drawing up real interior projects, as well as drawing everything down to the details, with an emphasis on lighting design, which is really important. It’s a key piece that we have here at UTS, is a strong emphasis on lighting design. We find it’s embedded in many ways in terms of how interior practices really work, and it’s so important to the success of interiors, so we make sure our students have a strong knowledge of it in this subject. then at the beginning of third year, increasing again in complexity, our students then learn about interior technologies. We start looking at all the supportive infrastructure that’s required to really put interior spaces together and to make interior spaces work very well.

So, things like air conditioning, HVAC systems and fire systems, and how students actually engage with that allows them to really understand when we construct these experiences and atmospheres inside interior spaces, it speaks to all the supportive resources and infrastructure that sits around that. Then finally, with all that knowledge, again, you see over those five subjects building up from basic representation skills through things like material practices, material futures, understanding construction, and then we get to the final communication and construction subject here, which is in the sixth semester and at the end of third year, and really, this is to bring together all those other subjects so that students, what they do is produce a DA development application package for an interior fit out.

This gives them that real confidence that they can finish at third year and go into our honors program, but have the skills and knowledge to be able to participate at an industry level at the day that they leave. So, yeah, it’s a great opportunity for our students to apply those skills and really have in their portfolio a really, really solid background, both in design, but also in how they go about constructing and working at a professional level from the day they leave. They leave third year. Good. Before I talk about honors for a moment, I just take a moment here to just reflect on there’s two history and theory subjects that we build into the first year. These are really formative, and they allow our students to really embed in both a theoretical basis in terms of how we think about interiors, interior practices, and the ideas associated with the interior, so of interiority, subjectivity, and how people really relate to the idea of interior space. The second one of these history and theory subjects really looks at a canonical, so a sequential sequence of the history of interior practices.

Interiors is an incredibly rich area in terms of its theory, because it’s evolving in a really big scale at the moment. Over the 20th century, it’s seen many, many different approaches to it. We feel it’s important to students have a strong understanding of the history and theories of interior, because they’ll be the ones out there defining the future of what that interior practice looks like when they start getting out there and working in interiors. Good. Then after the three years, then there’s the optional fourth year honors. That fourth year honors, it just has three subjects in it, two in the first semester, then one in the second semester. Really, our honors program is an opportunity for our students to go that extra year and develop just specialized skills and knowledge in interior practices, much, much more from an inquiry model as well. Students define their own project briefs, they define their own parameters of what they’re looking to do there, and then they go about actually looking to prove, in a research supported way, prove their design ideas through the design projects.

It’s a really wonderful year, and it allows our students to engage in really, really high levels of work practices, as well as engage with industry and engage with industry in a research focus way. Some of the work you’re seeing here is from last honors project, which was working with lighting design companies, and they did enormous lighting installations, other works you’re seeing here as well from some of our previous honors years, where they looked at ideas in a research model of speculations around new ideas for public housing. Good. The final slide, I’ll just show you here before I pass on to Emilia in a moment, is some of the other educational opportunities that we offer for our students.

Outside of the core curriculum, which I’ve just run you through, we also offer a really wonderful suite of electives and what we call global studios. Global studios currently are on hold, of course, because of the pandemic. But as soon as we’re able to, we look to be having them open up again. But our global studios are really putting our students in international contexts to work with industry professionals and experts in the field, in Australia, but also overseas. Here’s just an example of some of the international global studios that we’ve had in the past. But what we do is in the program, we take the students, a number of students, usually 20 or so, and take them overseas, and they work on a project in real time with real designers or with professionals.

Here, we’ve gone to Indonesia in the past, Sweden, Greece, and New Zealand as well. We’ve also got our Ikea elective here, which is one of our industry engagements where we work with Ikea, and they come in and they work with the students on speculative projects around the future of living. Some of our other industry projects as well have recently included working with the UN, where the students have been working on a design for UN in New York, as well as the Ikea studio here, and our on country practices as well.