Following the recent reports of concern over the status of interiors on theRoyal College of Art’s MA Architecture course, do you think that the RCA is losing sight of the importance of interior design?
At the RCA we think that interior design is part of architecture and vice versa. Architecture could not work without interiors; interiors could not work without architecture. The city is made up of interiors, big and small. I believe in the interweaving of the two and that is what we teach. The course as I inherited it was conventional in so far as it maintained them as separate mindsets. The whole thing needed jacking up. As an architect, I have dealt more with interiors than with architecture. Most architects’ work is about adaptation rather than building from scratch.
Nigel Coates, Head of architecture and interiors department, RCA
The MA Architecture course (there’s a clue in the title) and its philosophy leaves little doubt that interior design will continue to be marginalised. This is a travesty, as interior designers, with their particular skills, can transform even the most mediocre and vile architecture into stunning places. The RCA must ensure both sets of students think and explore ideas together. A totally integrated faculty will produce better students and great results.
Jim Thompson, Managing director, 20/20
The interesting thing about the course at the RCA has always been the way in which it does not necessarily fit the ‘vocational’ boxes that a lot of professionally accredited courses are forced into. The intake and the course content have allowed a dynamic to evolve which I think very realistically mimics a lot of modern practice. It will find its own balance.
Jonathan Clarke, Director, Universal Design Studio
This is probably my fault. I ran the Architecture and Interior Design course for two years and resisted continuous attempts to shut down the architecture part of it, because I thought that it was good for both disciplines to learn about, and from, each other. And I think they did. It was also the only place where architects could work directly with artists and designers. But, in my effort to protect the interests of architects and architecture, I failed to foresee that, of course, they would be the ones who would take over – it was the interior designers that I should have been watching out for. Now, they are the ones that have nowhere to go.
Dinah Casson, Director, Casson Mann Designers