The Relationship Between Interior Design and Architecture

For many decades now, interior design and architecture have struggled on how they could be effectively fused. Academically, they are supposed to be related but the application of both disciplines can be a little difficult. There are many opposing points of view out there with regard to these two elements especially in a world where professions and disciplines have become interconnected.

Colleges and universities now align their offered academic majors with what has spurred renewed interest. A lot of professionals are now even rethinking the standards of accreditation disciplinary relationships. 

Fusion in Context

Commercial interiors have evolved a lot since the last century. Back in the day, architects are the ones that have been tasked to complete the interiors of buildings together with craftsmen, artisans, and furniture makers.

Recently, this was no longer the case as interior designers have appeared into the picture and have played a vital role since. In the mid-1900s, speculative building and shifts from corporate ownership to leases have jump-started the separation of building design and interior design.

Urban cores have matured which prompted the requirement for interior renovation. Also,  the increased intricateness in healthcare, the workplace, and other institutions have brought about the need for increased expertise. Specialization has become acceptable in professional services offered for homes and commercial spaces.

This new trend in specialization is ever growing as is seen in the number of accredited schools that have sprouted and the improvement in architectural and design services that are being offered.

The onset of commercial interior market has brought about a lot of support from professional organizations as well as academic accreditors. Even regulatory agencies followed suit. These groups have professionalized the new discipline (interior design). Academic programs that used to focus in home economics and residential interiors have now adjusted to embrace new commercial interiors.

It is not the existence of commercial interior design that is being challenged but its ownership – which accreditor, academic program or regulator should have absolute jurisdiction? How can these professionals provide licenses and what should the designations be? 

Distinct Yet Connected Disciplines

While there may be opposing views out there, the art of interior design continues to flourish. While architects may rant about their jurisdiction over interior space, still, they are not able to stop the growth of the interior design industry. In essence, while there may be a distinction between architecture and interior design; these two disciplines are integrally fused by nature. They intersect at so many points such as shared knowledge, history and even their curriculum.

While the neurosurgeon and the pediatrician possess different medical know-how, they are both physicians and no one argues about this. The medical profession can serve as the model for the architecture-interior design relationship.

Today’s world shows support for interior design specializations. Improvement in digital practices, sustainable environments, construction management, structural systems, material science and such can now position graduates to a more meaningful practice.

Practitioners and educators in these two disciplines are now looking into the inevitable integration of both professional tracks. The challenging issue, however, is how to lower the combative nature of both disciplines. The two need to be collaborative and integrated models are now supposed to teach about the alignment of architecture and interior design curricula.

To some extent, there are now some schools that offer hybrid programs to their enrollees. These focus on the beauty of interiors and how to understand the boundaries of the two disciplines.

At this point, however, schools have the power to decide whether or conform or not. This makes for the accreditation process distinctions. Hybrid program graduates either align with existing accreditors or they compromise their educational program.

Whatever the future holds for both architecture and interior design professions, one thing is certain – both intersect and are related to each other no matter what experts say. People just need to find the points where these two disciplines unavoidably meet.

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