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Board of Regents approves new Interior Architecture & Design degree

Monday, October 02, 2017

LAWRENCE — The Kansas Board of Regents approved the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design’s new Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture & Design program (IAD) on Sept. 20. 

“All of us in the School of Architecture & Design (Arc/D) are excited that the IAD degree we’ve wanted to offer for many years is now a reality,” said Dean Mahesh Daas. “We aim to produce well-rounded industry leaders.

“There are many interiors programs out there, but we know of no other that immerses students in such a diversity of classwork,” he said. “This is truly an interdisciplinary degree. We designed it to take advantage of all that we offer in our academic programs and research institutes, which focus on health and wellness, sports and entertainment, smart cities and design-build."

“Most IAD grads will earn the M.Arch. master’s in two years or less. That degree is required if an individual wants to eventually earn a license to practice architecture,” said Associate Dean Mike Swann, who was instrumental in creating the degree. 

In explaining how this program differs from the traditional Master of Architecture offered by Arc/D, Nilou Vakil, the school’s director of strategic initiatives, said, “What is unique about KU’s IAD curriculum is that its classes are drawn from architecture as well as visual communications and industrial design classes that are part of the school’s BFA.”

“IAD students will have a deeper focus on the experience of spaces, how they perform and their relationship with the larger built environment,” she said. “There is also an emphasis on how interior spaces are formed, programmed, configured and acoustics, lighting, graphics, and furniture and finishes. We want our graduates to understand how to resolve nearly any kind of interiors-related problem.

“Regardless of building type, more than half of all architectural services now encompass interior architecture and design,” Vakil said. “The development of our IAD program recognizes that there is a demand for commercial interiors specialists. The work done by graduates of our program will encompass all aspects of the design and integration of interiors and user-experiences within all types of buildings.”

“In addition to an overwhelming demand from prospective students, our alumni have been insistent that we create an IAD program, dovetailed into our architecture and design offerings, and are extremely supportive,” Daas said. 

Students who have previously not enrolled at KU may apply now for admission to IAD, which will begin in fall 2018. Inquiries about the program may be emailed to Gera Elliott, admissions coordinator, at gera@ku.edu.    

Physical study model of Denver Arts Center, with a focus on interior architecture, by Elayna Svigos and Monica Mong, students of Nilou Vakil, Arc/D Director of Strategic Initiatives.

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