PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has stuck his nose into this issue before and it is not my intent to belabor the definitions, differences, distinctions, etc. again. For those of you that are interested in the many semantic, practical and existential differences I offer this AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community Podcast titled “Grow Your Practice- The Interiors Advantage”
In this 23+/- minute discussion Timothy Hawk and Mary Burke (assumed R.A.’s and AIA members) talk about the differences between architectural practice and interior architecture practice. Both make good points in this regard. However, at about 13:33 they are asked to describe the difference between IA and ID. Again I have to say both were diplomatically erudite in their response particularly when they state that ID is a subset of IA- I am sure that will rankle a few ID’ers. Anyway based on my knowledge of the two fields this blurb represents the AIA party line. Interesting stuff- any thoughts?
P.S. Okay I said I was not going into the definition of, or differences between, interior design and interior architecture but the one comment so far got me to thinking OUCH! So here I sit with a B.S. Degree in Architecture, an M.S. in Interior Design, 23+ years practice primarily within architecture firms, three of which were spent on one project as the “interior architect of record”, I now teach at a University that houses both an Interior Design Program and an Interior Architecture Program. Although not technically an “architect” I think I am qualified to offer an opinion, in fact I owe it to the many interior designers and architects that I have worked for and with throughout my career. So what is the difference?
First we have to acknowledge that for one to be an interior architect he/she has to be trained as an architect, must have passed the Architects Registration Examination and must be licensed as an architect in the state(s) in which he/she practices in order to call themself an “interior architect”. Beyond that little technicality and overlooking the fact that the AIA does not have an exterior architecture knowledge community (ahem)- here is the rub;
As an architect, interior architects think differently.
So in that regard the podcast was somewhat correct. Architects think differently so often they listen differently. I agree that for an architect to be successful at designing interior space they actually have to adjust their listening skills. Some have done this quite successfully (see Arthur Gensler) while others not so much.
Also architects look at buildings differently- they see the holistic picture whereas a traditional interior designer might miss key contextual cues because frankly they are not taught to consider the buildings feelings- only the users…sarcasm intended but 4 dimensional gestalt is a foreign concept to most ID’ers let’s be honest.
So I am good with the first 13 minutes of the discussion. Interior Design being a subset of interior architecture…..well my dog stops hunting at that point.