Every architect started as a student. Even the famous ones had a first contract which led them to decades of work and appreciation. Every year, students graduate from architectural colleges. They can be the fresh perspectives that shift styles and set new trends. Look at what they’re doing, get a glimpse of a very near future, and maybe meet someone with a perspective to work with.
Cornish College of the Arts offers a degree in Interior Architecture. The name doesn’t constrain them, as several paid attention to exteriors as well. As the College observed; “IA Seniors are a growing cohort of artist-citizen-innovators who are eager to research, explore and develop a social and civic-minded practice.”
Abel tackled the problem of creating and reinforcing community in shared housing. An Indonesian community was displaced and relocated to a communal living facility. Living isn’t enough. A space has to support the emotional security within a community while also encouraging individuals’ financial security. Providing space for communal dining that can be serviced by food carts is one solution. “good environments should be inclusive and capable of coalescing cultural expectations with innovative thinking”
Carrie’s intent is to help make healthy lifestyles an integral part of people’s lives by “creating spaces which coalesce communities and reintroduce natural and sustainable resources into society.” The focus of the Engaging Earth project is a middle-school where they will “challenge the current classroom design paradigms.” A few possibilities are incorporating an atrium to increase natural light, offsetting a middle floor to increase usable green space, and adding an outdoor classroom and an indoor greenhouse. Kids can grow outside and plants can grow inside, too.
Aya worked on another classroom redesign, though in an urban setting. There, it made more sense to put the garden on the rooftop, and then to playfully add geometric shapes to the natural environment. Play is important in her design that is inspired by the Montessori Theory of learning and development. Children are given more authority over their education. It’s no surprise when they decide that the traditional classroom layout is too static. “In classrooms, furniture will function as walls and partitions to create a more open space and to have a multi age collaboration environment.”
Christine is motivated by safety, security, and well-being; attributes that encouraged her work on a Transportable Medical Unit (TMU). The units are intended for use for disaster zones and for displaced people. The number of refugees is increasing, as is the impact of various disasters. A mobile unit can become the center for care in many ways. “every individual deserves to be in a safe and secure environment that also contributes to the well-being of the individual”
Athar addressed an issue similar to those above, but did so for a modern lifestyle. For most people, community is no longer constrained by proximity. Social media creates communities. Her work is directed at enabling social media pioneers by providing them with a site and services that support their work. Ironically, bringing them into closer physical proximity can strengthen an online community; “gather people together and create a space for the social media pioneers.” Expect a place with lots of room for laptops and collaborations.
Thom worked giving our discarded stuff a second life. “Upcycling, … is a philosophy that transforms the way we conceive of waste.” The thought is familiar to many, but physical sites that support it are less common. His design is for the Recology Upcycling Center, a building that makes it easier for people to turn garbage into something valuable – or at least something that doesn’t require additional mining and transportation. One good thing about the concept, there’s a lot to work with, and a need for it, too.
The students come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they all tend to return to a central theme of community, sustainability, and innovation. Their common aesthetic suggests those trends are receiving new advocates, energies, and ideas.
For details, contact Cornish. Don’t be surprised to learn that the students have moved on. That’s what students do. It may be worth tracking them down. They’re moving into their careers, but they’re also moving the styles and attitudes. Another generation making modern more modern, again.