What is Interior Architecture?

Many times, we judge the success of a building by the way it looks on the outside. But what about the inside, in the rooms that people experience? Professionals who design a building’s interior are responsible for making sure that everything that influences the perception and use of a space is perfect. They create everything inside from its overall forms, layout, acoustics, lighting, signage, and graphics. They design or specify its furniture and finishes. The design of all of these components determines how well the building’s interior meets the needs of both the building’s owner and its users.

Interior architects, in tandem with design teams, create the vision for our built environment. They work on projects at a variety of scales, for example, small residences, restaurants, and specialty boutiques and stores, or major projects like office and multifamily housing complexes, hotels, banks, hospitals, museums, theaters, and many other types of buildings.

What Distinguishes Our B.S. in Interior of Architecture & Design Degree from Others?

The School of Architecture & Design (Arc/D) is introducing a new, four-year Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture & Design degree. It is unique among interior architecture programs in that it draws upon the nationally-recognized strengths of Arc/D’s architecture, visual communication, and industrial design programs. This creates an opportunity for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, professional education that focuses on the design of the heart of a building.

The B.S.-M.Arch. Path 

In addition, this new program has been designed to fit within the School’s accredited Master of Architecture degree. Students who are admitted to the B.S. of Interior Architecture & Design curriculum are also admitted to the Master of Architecture program. With less than two years of additional courses, they will complete the requirements for an innovative, joint B.S. of Interior Architecture & Design–Master of Architecture degree.

The Program

Students in our IAD program will study architectural design, ergonomics and wayfinding, furniture and furniture-systems design, materials, structural and environmental systems, sustainability, and smart building systems. They will work side-by-side with architecture, design, and engineering students in our innovative design-build classes. Our students intern in some of the country’s leading interior architecture and design firms.

Global Studies

Students participate in Arc/D’s Global Studies programs which expose them to cutting-edge design practices. In recent years our students have visited Singapore, Denmark, Germany, China, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Paris, Cuba, Dubai, Japan, and other parts of the world.


Arc/D operates over 30 different labs, shops, and support centers that provide traditional and high-tech digital tools used in interior architecture and design today. We have eight fully-equipped workshops where students have access to 3-D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers and industrial-scale robots for cutting, assembling and printing building interior details,  

Our 65,000-square-foot East Hills Design-Build Center is 1.5 times the size of a football field, and is unmatched by facilities in any other design school in the world. Its technology outfitting includes fully-equipped metal and wood shops, and expansive areas where full-size building interior mockups are designed and constructed.

Digital Technology

Students will learn the most recently released software for IAD, including computer-aided design, building-information modeling, 3-D modeling and fabrication, and virtual reality. The School has recently developed new IAD elective classes in Robotics, 3-D Fabrication, and Virtual Reality Design as well as Interaction Design.

Contact Information:

Gera Elliott, Admissions Coordinator, 200 Marvin Hall, 1465 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence KS 66045. Email: gera@ku.edu.

Michael M. Swann, Associate Dean, 200 Marvin Hall, 1465 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence KS 66045. Email: mmswann@ku.edu.


Arc/D Calendar of Events

KU Design Camp 2018

Commencement 2018