Interior architecture combines the study and practice of interior design with architecture. It explores how the interiors of buildings such as office blocks, houses, hospitals and galleries are inhabited, used and experienced. The subject also explores how interiors of buildings can be changed to meet different needs and to express different functions, for example from a station multi-storey car park to a modern office block.
Interest in interior architecture has grown rapidly in recent years. New materials, technologies and techniques are giving interior architects exciting new ways to enclose and use space using, for example, architectural glass for floors and ceilings and new environmentally friendly technologies for heating and lighting.
As a result, new courses in Interior Architecture have been introduced, some based in universities' schools of art and design, and others in their schools of architecture. The qualifications can differ slightly in the form of BA, BSc, MArch, BDes. It is therefore important to research courses carefully to identify their different emphases through the range of modules offered and the careers followed by their recent graduates. It is also worth looking out for professional body accreditation for the course, such as from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Example areas of study
The courses listed below differ in their content, depending on their focus and qualification so it is important to check each of them carefully with the institutions that you wish to apply to. The list below is intended as a guide to core and optional modules that may be available on interior architecture courses.
- Architectural theory, design, practice and representation
- Architectural psychology
- The built environment
- Philosophy and the built environment
- Interior design and philosophy
- History, theory and issues
- Design skills: model-making, workshop-based fabrications, drawing and representation, film, photography, video, computer-aided design
- Digital media and culture
- Tectonics and technology
- Advanced computer modelling and animation
- Design technology
- Building structures and materials
- Environmental science
- Structures, environment and sustainability
- Cultural contexts
- Contemporary issues
- Contemporary architecture and design
- Contemporary manifestos and theories
- Adapt and extend
- People and places
- Material culture
- Light and lighting design
- The modern house
- The post-Enlightenment interior
- Objects and environment
- Material form
- Communication and presentation
- Professional practice and research methods
Some career possibilities
Graduates have gone into interior architecture and design for public and private buildings, into building design, production design, installation, exhibition, theatre and other areas of spatial design, working, for example, with architects or with interior or multi-discipline design practices. Another option is postgraduate study for higher degrees in, for example, interior architecture, design or design history.
What do I need to get on a course?
The entry requirement for courses in interior architecture do vary so make sure that you check with the university and colleges themselves as to what they require. A guide to the qualifications and grades that you may need is offered below:
- UCAS Tariff: 160 - 280 points including a relevant art/design subject
- A-level: CC-BBC including a relevant art/design subject
- SQA Highers: BBB including English and a relevant subject
- SQA Advanced Highers: CC-BBB including a relevant art/design subject
- Art Foundation Diploma
For your application or interview, evidence of the following could be useful:
Work experience/work shadowing with an interior architect, architect and/or interior designer
- You will probably be required to present your portfolio as part of the application process for most surface pattern design courses. This should include designs and photographs of finished pieces that you have produced as part of previous study and in your own time. You should be able to discuss each piece with confidence at your interview
- Further information on the subject is available at The Royal Institute of British Architects
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk