Last Wednesday morning, our IAR 311 class met at the Freelon Group architecture firm in Durham, after which we toured one of its projects: the Durham County South Regional Library. It was a noteworthy experience to visit a real design firm and to hear firsthand about its inner workings. We gathered in the conference room, where the firm's two interior designers took some time to discuss the scope of their responsibilities. The two of them collaborate to design the interiors of the Freelon Group's building projects. The firm's work is clean, simplistic, and practical. I especially appreciate the library design's focus on sustainability and on accommodating the needs of children. The simplicity of its interior form is complemented by materials and finishes that add warmth and vibrant color. Large expanses of glass on the building's facades fill its interior spaces with natural light, enhancing an open and uplifting atmosphere. As a class, we have been working on modeling the library in Revit, and it was insightful to be able to experience the space in person rather than through bland construction drawings.
The design projects that our guest speaker Paula Carr showed us earlier in the semester appeared to demonstrate a more artistic, sculptural approach to design. Paula is an interior designer for TVS Design. Regarding design process and strategies, she gave some meaningful tips. Among them were the importance of learning to sketch quickly in order to communicate ideas; focusing on the most important elements first; generating a concept early in the design process; and keeping a holistic viewpoint. After seeing the design projects she presented, I found that I was able to further solidify my own preferences through an examination of aspects that I appreciated and those I was not as fond of.
Exposure to the projects and processes of actual design firms was helpful in understanding the career possibilities available to us after graduation.