Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Architecture vs. Interior Architecture

I have come across your ARCHCareers blog quite a few times during my research of architecture education. Thank you for taking the time to keep it on-going. Last May, I graduated with a B.A. in journalism. If I had to do it over I'm pretty sure I would major in architecture and interior design. In fact when I was younger, I said I would major in journalism and minor in architecture, but as you're well aware of architecture isn't really an area you minor in - at least if you want to be a practicing architect. Over the past year, I have been researching architecture and interior design programs, but due to uncertainty of which path to take, I have have not applied to any. I want to be able to work in both fields. 

At first I leaned more toward interior design and taking architecture courses to complement. However, I'm realizing that while I want to be able to work in the field of interior design, I also am drawn to structural knowledge, renovation and preservation projects, urban design and planning, and the social impacts that architecture can have. Ultimately, I would want to have the ability to be very hands-on in the design and full visualization of whatever project I'm working on. Given that, a graduate architecture degree would probably provide more career diversity. I would appreciate your feedback on possible educational routes I can take. 

I would also like your perspective on the following:

Through research, I see interior architecture is an area I'm drawn to. However, the only program I've come across that seems to focus on interior structures as the basis for their IA program is the masters program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With other programs, interior architecture is simply another term for interior design. Do you know of any other programs that focus on interior architecture in the interior structures since?
I appreciate your comments on the ARCHCareers blog.  Also, congrats on your interest in architecture and interior design.

When individuals share that they are interested in architecture and interior design, my simply reply is that "architects can do interior design - interior designers cannot do architecture."  As you state, a Master of Architecture would create greater career flexibility especially given both of your interests. 

Your statement -- "I would want to have the ability to be very hands-on in the design and full visualization of whatever project I'm working on." -- leads me to think that a graduate degree in architecture is better suited for what you wish to accomplish.

One resource to explore is the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community of the AIA (see below):
The Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to  practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations.

In terms of the Interior Architecture program in Chicago, I know of no other direct programs except perhaps Miami University in Oxford, OH - One suggest is to pursue the MArch at an institution that also offers a degree in interior design. For details on those programs, visit CIDA --

To the extent possible, have conversations with professionals in both disciplines and keep asking questions.  Another resource at Becoming an Architect and Becoming an Interior Designer both published by Wiley.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is really an honor for me to deal with architecture and to know your insights about architecture and interior architecture. Good job my friend.

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