Interior Architecture Program
5-year degree Certified level I
Interior Architecture, Code/s NSF 233n, Level I government-certified degree (Fr) and level 7 (Eu), Ministerial order of 19 November 2014, published in the Official Gazette on 29 November 2014, ESAIL is recognised by the French Council of Interior Architects (CFAI)
Dealing with functions which are as different as inseperable, and making a synthesis out of it, is the responsibility of the Interior architect. He then comes up with a creation which combines all the dimensions of knowledge and conscience. He is a generalist whose mission is not just to determine the shape of an object or a space, but rather someone who will suggest an overall vision of the way of living in the present time.
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This is the year in which students discover a new world in terms of the subjects they will learn and the abilities they will be required to use. From day one, students are immersed in the four pillars of our curriculum: artistic flair, technical know-how, cultural knowledge and spatial design skills. Starting in year one, they test out the range of skills they will be required to master.
- Learn how to represent space (building representation codes, techniques for representing the three dimensions of space, design software, etc.).
- Develop their graphic design and observational skills (artistic disciplines).
- Form the foundations of the architectural and artistic culture needed to overcome biases and inform project practices.
- Tackle technical issues raised by building materials and their use.
- Explore architectural project practices.
Classes are suspended for one week in year one to allow first-year, second-year and third-year students to work on a joint project. This provides them with the opportunity to work together as a team, pass on knowledge, organize and assign work, learn how to defend a project before an examination committee, and be able to compare the variety of solutions possible for a subject.
At the end of the year, students do an internship at a second-fix company to work with materials first-hand and gain insight into the realities of building sites.
After acquiring a number of spatial representation tools and testing out project concepts in year one, students enrolled in year two move on to interior architecture projects characterised by a first level of complexity. Students are instructed in the many interactions that occur in projects and must learn to find solutions to information that can be different and contradictory. The task is not easy, but it is essential in this occupational field. It is important to accompany this experimentation in architectural projects with a methodological approach that is not necessarily the only way (there are many).
As they learn the design process, students perfect their knowledge of spatial representation tools, cultural references, and technical constraints in building design.
At one point during the year, students go on a cultural trip to a European city. This trip is supervised by their art history and artistic drawing instructors. The aim of this trip is to open students’ minds to other cultures and experiment with the assimilation of references.
During the joint project, year-two students benefit from the experience gained in year one and can take a more active role in the project’s development.
At the end of the year, students do an internship at a project management firm. The main aim of this internship is to allow students to see, first hand, how project management firms operate, who the various stakeholders are, what steps are involved in defining a project, and take part in the firm’s operations.
In year two, students experiment with and practice setting up a number a projects. In year three, they must be able to do so, only faster and more efficiently. Short projects allow them to work on quick implementation of concepts and synthesis activities. Achieving a certain level of quickness of thought allows students to consider a variety of solutions (possibilities of choice, of selecting more relevant solutions, etc.) and, in the case of long exercises, to be able go further in defining projects (relationship between technical details and aesthetic intentions).
The functional areas explored expand to cover business operations, commercial establishments, museums and more.
Students also apply their experience with spatial-representation tools (graphic design, 3D software) to their project presentations and, more specifically, the issue of laying out the pages in their project documentation.
The programme’s cultural disciplines, such as art history and history of architecture, focus on the contemporary era to facilitate the theoretical contributions possible between disciplines.
Year three is also the year of international exchanges, which are designed to expose students to other project teaching methods. Perfecting one’s fluency in a foreign language as an undergraduate (1er cycle) is therefore vital to discovering another culture.
Year-three students play the role of project leaders during the joint project. It is their job to organize and assign work to the members of their team and to defend their team project before the examination committee.
At the end of the year, students do a six-month internship at a project management firm where they must make a greater contribution.
The aim is to gradually progress to graduate level (second cycle) so that students can take a critical distance from their work and gain a certain degree of “neutrality” vis-à-vis their projects. They must be able to look at their work from an intellectual, rather than emotional, perspective. As undergraduates, students simply learned how to create a project. As graduates, they must know how to look at their project as one among other possibilities. Furthermore, the graduate project is longer, more complex and emphasizes building diagnostics (report, formal analysis, awareness and understanding of the initial context) as an essential prerequisite to design.
This year is devoted to developing students’ thinking skills, with a return to writing (which also serves to prepare students for their thesis in year five) and the introduction of more theoretical disciplines on architecture and creative processes.
Students also learn about building codes and other constraints encountered in the profession. Had they been added earlier in the curriculum, these regulatory constraints would have been “imposed” (they are merely mentioned in the undergraduate courses). From now on, they must be included in the design process.
Defending their assigned project before an examination committee (weight of 2 in the award of their degree) provides students with the opportunity to test their ability to present a project before an examination committee that includes members from outside the school. This exam also calls on students’ skills to orally and graphically present the value of their project.
At the end of the year, students to a three-month internship at a project management firm. Due to the duration of the internship and the level achieved, students must be able to assume responsibilities within the firm.
Students spend this year working on two degree projects:
- A thematic project (weight of 2) due at the end of semester one. Students work on a small-scale interior architecture project on an assigned subject and defend their work before an examination committee consisting entirely of business practitioners.
- An independent project (weight of 6) due at the end of semester two. Students are required to demonstrate that they control every aspect in the design of a project.
- Intellectual analysis (students must demonstrate in their paper that they can explain information in an organised and detailed manner)
Creativity (innovative spatial design)
Project development skills (set of drawings making up a spatial design)
Technical skills (presence of details on how to transform a design into reality)
Communication skills (ability to present a project orally and graphically)