The aim of this paper is to present findings from a case study conducted in the format of a meta-analysis of ten years’ worth of projects, completed as part of an interior design Honours degree programme. This programme adopts a constructive (or outcomes-based) teaching approach, which is structured around independent research and the execution of a practical design proposal. The learning outcomes of the programme, which have remained relatively consistent, requires students to identify spatial problems within the urban context and propose how interior design can be used to possibly address these problems. The purpose for generating the meta-analysis was intended to transform the design studio into a research laboratory which, in turn could create a data-base of information for future interior students and scholars in urban development, architectural, and related built-environment disciplines. A pilot study was conducted using a geographic information system (GIS) to test appropriate categories and themes and the technology required for the analysis. Whilst conducting this study it became apparent to the authors (both being facilitators of the programme) that it presented an opportunity to reflect on the pedagogical changes that have occurred during this period, and possible resulting impact on the learning process. Over the last decade, the interior design honours program has been subjected to a myriad of challenges and changes. These include program transformations, the impact of diverse institutional thrusts, adapted teaching approaches in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution objectives and Covid-19, and socioeconomic changes in the urban contexts in which students conduct their studies. Preliminary findings indicate that despite the imposed changes the students’ cognitive processing appears to have remained largely unchanged. This conference presents an opportunity for us to establish whether there is any significant causal relationship between structural changes to the curriculum programme and students’ ability to meet the learning outcomes.
Andrew Gill qualified with an MTech degree in Interior Design at the Witwatersrand Technikon in 2002. He has been involved in design education for 30 years, teaching at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is currently employed at the University of Johannesburg in the faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, in the Interior Design department as a senior lecturer and researcher. He is also responsible for the development and coordination of the newly introduced BA Hons Degree programme. Andrew has always considered design as a creative problem-solving tool that can be used to improve the quality of life for all in the built environment. His current interest and exploration of interior strategies for architectural conservation has initiated the process of transforming the design studio into an adaptive reuse laboratory.
Sadiyah Geyer has built up over a decade of industry experience and is highly skilled in the execution of interior architecture and design projects, focusing on conceptual development, technical documentation, project management and administration. She has a deep passion for working with people, designing to contribute to the enrichment of society and creating spaces that provide maximum user comfort and efficiency, with minimal impact on the environment. With the aim of sharing her passion and knowledge of the built environment with aspiring, young interior designers, she joined the University of Johannesburg in the faculty of Art, Design and Architecture as an academic and researcher. Her teaching experience in the past five years has been an energizing and rewarding step in her career. She has recently completed her MA (Design) qualification at the University of Johannesburg. Her research focuses on urban regeneration strategies through the implementation of interior design as a creative industry.