The Interior Architecture Knowledge Community (IAKC) is committed to advancing the practice of Interior Architecture by providing its membership with resources to elevate their professional practice and design excellence. We serve to facilitate a national dialogue that addresses a range of key issues, including innovative design and programming, the incorporation of sustainable materials and technologies, and the social, cultural, and spatial impact of architecture on human experience. IAKC seeks to address national issues with regional sensitivity, providing a platform for its membership to share knowledge, gain expertise, and form collaborative relationships with industry peers and allied partners. Join us!
This is a recent quote our IAKC at-large member, Alejandra Molina Jackson, AIA, of Arquitectonica in Miami, Florida:
"As an architect, I was formed understanding architecture as a continuum of urban space. Buildings don't start in the façade - it is about the blend of public-private- and transitional spaces with the blend of interior-exterior spaces and the transition between them. When we use this concept, we create great architecture. This means life quality for our neighborhoods and cities, usable, alive that invite social interaction, communication, diversity.
As designers of those spaces, we have the tremendous responsibility to interpret the society. The configuration of architecture is a reflection of the social space. When we propose different ways to do an activity through our design, we enrich that social space. When we deny it, we lower its quality.
Regarding personal space, this topic has a strong cultural component and the interpretation is different for each culture, more than an intellectual definition."
I have the pleasure of working with Alejandra and other national interior architecture specialists, as leaders of the AIA National Interior Architecture Knowledge Community. This past summer, we presented a thought-provoking forum at the AIA National Conference in Chicago (A'22), entitled, "Personal Space: Have We Crossed the Line?" I had the opportunity to moderate this program, where we explored the fact that interaction and collaboration, as we knew them, have forever changed.
At A'22, Vocon's Megan Spinos posed the questions that drive the design of personal space, whether that space be interior, exterior, or somewhere in between. We must ask ourselves, what is The Why behind the spaces we create? How does this Why connect us? What role does The Why play in our experience? The pandemic has taught us that the idea of one-size-fits-all design is a thing of the past. We're all going through this together, so, for the first time, architects and designers are taking their own lived experiences into account when advising clients. Those experiences can inform the creation of custom-designed spaces for our clients.
Architecture and design are, by nature, inherently optimistic professions – working with our clients and colleagues in the community of the built environment, we create spaces, literally, out of thin air. These spaces need to reflect the hopes and dreams of clients in an increasingly uncertain world. What better opportunity to bring forward solutions that welcome employees back to the workplace for all the right reasons?
But what if we (likely) never get everyone back into the office? At least, not in the physical sense? Again, at A'22, world-renowned designer Eva Maddox of Chicago challenged everyone to think about what the future of digital design holds when creating personal space. The Metaverse has not only become a hot topic, but investment in digital real estate has grown hand over fist for the past few years. Example: Snoop Dog built a digital mansion on a plot of land in the digital world known as Sandbox, and someone paid $4.5M to be his neighbor. Maybe that new neighbor did it for the Coronas…so you start to get the picture.
It follows that the expansion of the digital universe in places like Sandbox, Horizon and Decentraland, provides business opportunities for architects and designers, as people and companies look to interact, conduct business, or purchase goods and services in an environment not unlike a real-time multiplayer video game. The Metaverse is still being developed - like the adage of flying the plane while you're building it, time will quickly tell whether these investments pay off and if the cost-of-entry can drop to allow more adopters to play in the sandbox.
Back to our session at A'22, Sudhakar Lahade, architect and thought leader with Hitachi, stated that "space is spiritual in nature – it is able to free, grow and liberate". He described the experience of personal space as being a progression of scales between low- and high-tech, and personal to social, including 1) Active (smart), 2) Inter-Active (collaborative), 3) Super-Active (immersive) and 4) Hyper-Active (immersive). In this progression, we recognize that "work doesn't fully represent me", and that truly successful design results in innovation through collaboration.
Using these methodologies, architects and designers need to partner with clients to create spaces, whether they be physical or digital, that reflect an organization's true self.Please consider engaging with the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community as we look to expand our ranks going into 2023!
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