DSGN09011 2013 Design Studies 1 Interiors without Boundaries

General Details

Full Title
Design Studies 1 Interiors without Boundaries
Transcript Title
Interiors without Boundaries
N/A %
Subject Area
DSGN - Design
CENG - Civil Eng. and Construction
09 - NFQ Level 9
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2013 - Full Academic Year 2013-14
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Michael Roulston, Emmet O'Doherty
Programme Membership
SG_DINTE_M09 201300 Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

Design Studies 1 allow students to explore relevant subject areas to a high level through the discussion and evaluation of issues relating to both theory and practice. Students are required to develop their Masters Studio design projects to respond to the material covered in their chosen stream

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


A systematic understanding and critical awareness of the historical and theoretical contexts for, and influences on, cutting edge contemporary architecture with fresh insights (1)


Systematic understanding of the interrelationship between architecture and art/heritage with particular reference to the forefront of the field (3)

Indicative Syllabus


3 sessions x 2 hours 


Session 1: Critical Tools for Regionalism

The objective of this session is to develop the analytic, critical and interpretive aptitudes of students in relation to the architectural object. Expressed in general terms, the question that subtends the session is as follows: what are we capable of saying about a work of architecture? Centred on a series of “readings” of projects and constructions, the session deals with topics related to the theories and methods of design, techniques of construction, the factual and cultural use of the architectural object. Through sampling a broad spectrum of critical writings and through a series of national and international case studies of the work of significant architects who lived and practiced in a regional context and whose buildings have a particular materiality that celebrate their specific part of space at a given moment in time, an analysis of the more remarkable phenomena of both historical and contemporary situations seeks to fill a major gap in our understanding of the prevailing Irish architectural zeitgeist.

Session 2: Interpretations
This session aims to develop the students’ skills to interpret territory as a ‘didactic instrument’ in which a desirable discourse can be formulated. The reading and understanding of the message of a region or of the individual buildings within provides the basis for the discussion. The uncovering and examination of the contextual evidence can reveal and influence the remodelling direction of the existing spaces and structures, allowing ‘place’ to emerge which sits dynamically and appropriately within its environment. In the interpretation of interior architectures, certain key concepts will be used such as “aesthetics”, “tectonics”, “craft”, “tradition”, “boundaries”, “materiality”, “time” and “perception”.


Session 3: Ireland North West – The ‘Art of Relationship’
This session seeks to analyse the historical and contemporary reality of the North West region of Ireland and the drama that is created by the rapport and the weaving together of the elements that make up the region. It will examine how buildings and the interior spaces contained within are not regarded as isolated figures but as small elements within a constantly evolving complex system affected by cultural systems, context and landscape, people, communities and settlement patterns, history, tradition, modernisation and time. It will examine the impact created by specific buildings among a collage of other structures and spaces, seeking to regard the region as much more than the sum of its parts.



3 sessions x 2 hours

Session 4: Interiorscapes

The aim of this session is to give a clear overview of paradigms of interior landscaping from the earliest identifiable examples through to the most recent and innovative designs. The presentation is followed by a class discussion on issues covered in the presentation.


Session 5: Design Aspects

A presentation on Environment and Construction (lighting, humidity, temperature, waterproofing, growth substrates, soil separators, drainage layers, installation loads) is followed by an exercise where students working in groups must quickly compile a design and present a solution for a given building.


Session 6: Maintenance and Costs

A presentation on maintenance, cleaning, pests and diseases, artificial plants, fire risks, plant selection, specification and costing is followed by an exercise where students working in groups must quickly compile a design and present a solution for a given building taking into account all the issues covered in the three sessions.



3 sessions x 2 hours

Session 7 - Designing the Modern Interior

This session is intended to comprehensively investigate key areas within the history and theory of the modern interior. It will examine the development of the profession of interior architecture within a European context from the late 19th to the 21st century, and how the discipline has evolved as a continuing exchange of ideas. The presentation will be given in two parts with a break for class discussion. The second part of the session will involve student led case study presentations of seminal interiors. 

Session 8 – The Influence of Modern Culture

This session is intended to explore is how the design of the inside spaces of our homes and public buildings is shaped by and shapes our modern culture. 

Session 9 – The Future of the Modern Interior

This session is intended to explore issues such as a ‘progressive attitude towards technology; a hyper-consciousness of what it is to live in the present and the future; an overt relationship with the mass media, mass consumption and the marketplace; an emphasis on individualism, interiority and the 'self'; the construction of identities determined by gender, class, race, sexuality and nationhood; and the experiences of urban and suburban life’ (Sparke 2009). A presentation will be given in two parts with a break for class discussion. The second part of the session will involve student led case study presentations.


3 sessions x 2 hours

Session 10: Design and Material Innovation:

 An innovative approach to material use provides a core design stimulus for interior architects. This block explores case studies, which push the boundaries of material use, whilst investigating the ecological and health related implications of material specification. Students will conduct personal studies which investigate materials, processes and finishes of their choice. The possibilities of present day industrial fabrication techniques, combined with the extensive and ever increasing range of available materials, create a design environment in which almost anything is possible.The first session introduces students to a diverse range of design case studies that extend the boundaries of material use. Students will then discuss these and identify possibilities for their personal investigations.

Session 11: Materials, Ecology and Health:

 This session will highlight the environmental and health related issues associated with a wide range of materials, finishes and manufacturing processes. It will also introduce principles pertaining to environmentally responsible specification. It will combine both lecture and investigative workshops and discussion which may centre on students’ own case studies.

 Session 12: Seminar (using mixed media):

 Students will present their material investigations to the class. The student presentations may employ a range of pre arranged media/ formats. Students will be expected to respond to class feedback and there will be a discursive component to the seminar, both during presentations and at the end of the session.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Project Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 25 % OnGoing 1,2
2 Project Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 25 % OnGoing 1,2
3 Project Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 25 % OnGoing 1,2
4 Project Continuous Assessment UNKNOWN 25 % OnGoing 1,2

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Practical Architectural Studio Design Studio 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Design 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Baker, G. (1996) Design Strategies in Architecture: An Approach to the Analysis of Form,  E & FN Spon, London

Brooker & Stone, (2004) Rereadings: Interior Architecture And The Design Principles Of Remodelling Existing Buildings, RIBA Enterprises, London

Canizaro, V. (ed.) (2007) Architectural Regionalism: Collected Writings on Place, Identity, Modernity and Tradition, Princeton Architectural Press, New York

Cooper, P. (2003) Interiorscapes: Gardens within Buildings, Mitchell Beazley, London

Gigli et al. (2007) Thinking Inside the Box, Middlesex University Press, London

Rendell et al. (2007) Critical Architecture, Routledge, London

Seamon, D. & Mugerauer, R. (1985) Dwelling, Place and Environment: Towards a phenomenology of a person and world,  Columbia University Press, New York

Sparke, P. et al. (2009) Designing the Modern Interior: From the Victorians to Today, Berg, London

Schittich, C. (ed) (2008) Interior Surfaces and Materials: Aesthetics, Technology, Implementation, Birkhauser, Basel

Ballard  Bell, V., Rand, P., (2008), Materials for Architectural Design, Laurence King Publishing.

Weston, R.,(2003), Materials, Form And Architecture, Laurence King Publishing.

Other Resources


Additional Information