Profession and Academic Disciplines collide


For several decades now, architecture and interior design have struggled with how and where they intersect as professions and as academic disciplines. To the extent that this struggle continues to be defined by two opposing and irreconcilable points of view, it promises to continue into the foreseeable future with little meaningful change.

As the professional world becomes increasingly connected and interdisciplinary, however, and as more colleges and universities align these academic majors, the topic of how architecture and interior design collide has seen renewed interest.

Here are 5 reasons why Architects and Interior Designers should be working together to maximise their contributions to the overall design of a building-

1) The exterior should complement the interior

Whether the building in question is a residential home, a commercial office, an exhibition space, or a school; it should be built and designed to complement its functional internal purpose. One way this is made possible is for the designer of the exterior to collaborate with the designer of the interior. Each should be made aware of the plans for both. In doing so, each party can ensure their designs complement and accommodate for the design of their counterpart.

2) The importance of lighting

Vision is arguably the most important sense through which to appreciate our surrounding environment. Lighting enhances the way we perceive both the structure and architectural form of a building; and draws attention to the textures, colours, and furnishings of the space.

Upon planning the construction of a building, the architectural placement of windows as a source of natural light should be discussed with the interior designer. People spend a large proportion of their lives indoors, and scientific evidence has made clear the link between a good source of natural lighting and wellbeing. For both the architect and the interior designer, lighting is a crucial element in their design schemes and should be planned together to maximise the impact of light.

A central responsibility of the interior designer is to enhance the value of the internal space for its residents. Creating ‘ healing homes’ and productive office working environments depend heavily on the efficient use of interior lighting. It has the ability to change the mood, perception and value of a room.

3) Ceilings are central to both

The architect designs where to have the ceilings- or whether to have them at all (exposed ceiling). In some cases, the ceiling will already have been implemented by the time the interior designer arrives. If the height of the ceiling plays a fundamental role in determining the mood and style of the room- it is indeed an element to be discussed and planned ahead.

4) Tile, woodwork and door selections

Whilst these seem like material elements that should be entirely at the disposal of the interior designer, they are often integrated into the works of the architect. A selection of interior finishes overlaps between the works of both the interior designer and architect. Woodwork in particular- from skirting boards to door frames are often constructed under the creative vision of the architect.

Ideally, these decisions will be made in conjunction with the creative vision of the interior designer. Along with the layout of the space, the placement of doors and use of certain materials; a highly informed design team will ensure a harmonious and seamless space.

5) Floorplanning

A floor plan will be drawn to scale before the construction of the building. The view from above will show the relationship between rooms, spaces and other physical features on one level of a structure. The same floor plan, created by the architect, will be assessed by the interior designer to measure floors, doors and pertinent furniture to decide what they will do with space.

The importance of designing the interior simultaneously with the architect is realised in cases where you have beautiful spaces and no place to put the TV. In other cases, when an architect does not consider furnishings in their plans, the resulting rooms often lack function. Floor plans, including any changes, should be shared on both sides of the design process to ensure each room sizes up adequately for design purposes.