Faculty member Tamie Glass currently teaching studio within the Interior Design program and a recent winner of a Legacy of Design Award answers the following questions on materials and materiality.

1.  What is the premise of your studio this semester?

I am teaching Design III Interiors this semester, which is the first interior design studio in the program sequence. It marks the point where interior design students begin a focused investigation into the practice of designing interior spaces as a specialized area of architectural design. I intentionally select a site that requires them to interface with an existing building in order to synthesize spatial strategies with the programmatic needs and phenomenological aspects of their designs.

2.  Having taught previous studios here at UT, how has your ideology regarding materials evolved or changed?  For example are you always seeking the most sustainable material, etc?

Through the development of Construction II: Interior Materials and Assembly and support from the Meadows Foundation, I introduced the students to the premise of Designing for Deconstruction. As students learned how to construct building interiors, they were concurrently asked to consider the end of life of their designs. This became the framework for discussing sustainability in a way that encompassed not only technical proficiency but also theoretical issues related to perception and time. Interiors are often changed long before their life span has expired; and as such, they contribute significantly to the building’s ecological footprint.

3.  Since you are teaching students in the various stages of their design series, how do materials and materiality become considered?

In Design III, I dismantle the practice of interior design into its constituent parts asking students to sequentially explore various aspects of their designs, including materials selection and application. As students progress through the program though and into Advanced Design, I encourage them to investigate both material and form simultaneously, allowing one to inform the other as a design generator. Often in my studios, regardless of the level, students explore how materiality is integral to issues of environmental identity.

4.  If you had to choose your favorite CSI division or material, what would it be?  Building on this question – is there a particular material or fabrication that you find compelling?

Division 06 – Wood, Plastics, and Composites. This division includes finish carpentry and architectural woodwork. Custom millwork is rich with programmatic requirements and opportunities for material exploration at a human scale. The slightest change in detail or materiality can alter the piece’s expression or define its functionality.

Entertainment Bar, Photo credit: Paul Finkel

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