Study programme

The two-year Master Interior Architecture at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) is structured in a similar way to a research and design office. During the Studios, you will complete the entire process of a research and design project including orientation, research (through design), analysis, concept development, design (through research), presentation and evaluation.

Within the research and design process, various aspects are explored in depth in four parallel programmes: Theory, Flows, Skills and Travel. In the two years, you will develop the skills to engage fully with society and to have a keen awareness of social, economic and technological changes. You will be capable of using your position to shape the relation between the space that relates most directly to people and the world that it encompasses.

Programme structure per year

In the first year, students are allotted four to eight weeks (comparable to a competition submission) or eighteen weeks (comparable to a regular commission) for the main projects in the Studios. Within the research and design process, various aspects are explored in depth in four parallel programmes: Theory, Flows, Skills and Travel.

These programmes form an integral part of the design process in practice, but they are given added emphasis during the INSIDE course in relation to the Studio projects, and are supervised by specialist tutors. In this way, the analysis of the dynamic nature of a spatial context undergoing change is scrutinised closely in Flows, while the various theoretical aspects of a project are explored in Theory. An introduction to specific skills required in a project and to the approach of a particular tutor is offered in Skills, and relevant projects are visited in Travel.

In the second year, a Graduation Studio is organised to assist students in drawing up individual graduation projects. Students work independently and cover the entire process of orientation, research (through design), analysis, concept development, design (through research) and presentation by themselves, under the individual supervision of their teachers.

Study programme

The Master in Interior Architecture focuses on practices in architecture, where every commission begins with a comprehensive study of the context of the commission. This comprehensiveness concerns both the dimensions studied (not only the spatial, but also the social, historical, economic, administrative and ecological context) and the research methods used. This approach places the subject in a real-world context in the broadest sense, considering it not as a more or less isolated physical and spatial design problem, but including as much as possible all aspects that are relevant to the quality of the design. In the first year, students become acquainted with this broad approach, study underlying theories and models and become proficient in the application of an extensive repertoire of techniques and tools. After a first year filled with encounters, assignments and confrontations, it’s possible for the students to return to their native countries where they can define an assignment with which they complete their course at INSIDE by the end of the second year and final year. It’s also possible for them to choose a topic related to the Netherlands.

Programme components

The curriculum is structured in a similar way as a research and design office. The main features of the course are the design studios, in which students complete the entire process of a research and design project: orientation, research (through design), analysis, concept development, design (through research), presentation and evaluation. Students are allotted 8 weeks (comparable to a competition submission) or 18 weeks (comparable to a regular commission) for the main studio projects.

Within the research and design process, various aspects are explored in depth in four parallel programmes: Theory, Flows, Skills and Travel.

In each semester of the first year, design studios, theory courses, flows research, skills courses and the travel programme are closely coordinated with each other. In the second year the student, supervised by a teacher trio, conducts his or her own graduation project more or less independently, bringing together research and design.

In brief, the research is embedded in the following programme components:

The teachers are spatial designers and (interior) architects with leading professional practices, enabling students to explore in greater detail the kind of research that actually happens in practice. Each year, a new topic is addressed in the studios.

  1. Example academic year 2016-2017: Studio MuseumHotelEscherBreuer (8 weeks)
    In this studio guided by Mark Veldman (OMA) and theory teacher Anne Hoogewoning, in collaboration with Benno Tempel (Gemeentemuseum The Hague), students designed a proposal in which a combination of the Escher Museum in The Hague and a hotel will occupy the former American embassy building in The Hague. The studio included various travels, research on visitor flows in museums and skills workshops in presenting (Lucas Verweij) and modelling (Vincent de Rijk).
  2. Example academic year 2016-2017, Studio Discover Braambergen (18 weeks)
    Braambergen is a ‘landfill site’ in the Dutch city of Almere, owned by Afvalzorg Nederland. In this studio students researched the possibilities to re-develop the site for recreational purposes. They created a series of spatial interventions presented during an open day on site aimed at engaging stakeholders and inhabitants of Almere to collaboratively rethink the future of Braambergen. Tutored by Markus Bader (raumlaborberlin), Aser Gimenez Ortega and Fokke Moerel (MVRDV), Lizanne Dirkx (Superuse Studio) and theory teacher Anne Hoogewoning. The studio included various travels, research on waste flows and skills workshops in film narrative (Mauricio Freyre), data visualisation (Cloud Collective) and graphic design (Gert Dumbar).

The Theory & Writing programme aims at linking theoretical and intuitive insights of both theorists and students to practical case studies.

The Flows programme investigates the specifications and behaviour of the ‘flows’ – from energy, water, and food to knowledge and money – to support the development of sustainable design methods.

Skills courses focus on the acquisition of essential research and design skills. These include, for example, observation techniques and conversational techniques to promote the participation of stakeholders.

The travel programme consists of national and international excursions, symposia, lectures, interviews and studio visits that stimulate the observation of and research into phenomena in spatial design.

Competencies

THE INSIDE INTERIOR ARCHITECT

In its profile, INSIDE emphasises the cultural and social challenges in interior architecture and places its thematic focus on socially relevant spatial assignments. This focus leads to the profile of the INSIDE interior architect whose core is made up of the following characteristics, which are an addition to and deepening of the skills that have already been acquired by a Master’s student after completing a Bachelor’s course. The characteristics form a complete array of attributes that define the mentality and working methods of the interior architect educated at INSIDE. These characteristics have been incorporated into the outcomes and criteria of the INSIDE Review Form and thus form part of the final assessment of the course. A mastery of a well-balanced number of these characteristics is taken as the point of departure in the final assessment.

INSIDE expects its students to possess a distinctively exploratory and curious mentality. Research forms the core of the Master’s phase of education in interior architecture. With some exceptions, this research is not principally academic in character and is certainly not an end in itself. At INSIDE, research is primarily conducted to serve spatial design. Students are prepared to undertake a journey of discovery to learn about many aspects of the context, be they anthropological, cultural, social, political, economic or historical in nature. By acquiring this wide spectrum of information about a context through source research, field research, interviews and observation, students also acquire a reliable, workable and also personal picture of their own design assignment in relation to the changing spatial situation.

The INSIDE student is capable of establishing a hierarchy in and connections within the complexity of the acquired information in a personal manner, and thus interpreting a situation and explaining it in terms of factors and phenomena that are decisive for the design of spatial change.

Each studio project at INSIDE results in a spatial design. This can be elaborated as a feasible physical design. The notion of design can be interpreted here as 'spatial programme' that follows from the preceding exploration, and which includes not only a proposal for physical change but also explicit strategies for spatial change consisting of interventions and programming. The resulting design centres on the use of interior space and the user’s perspective 'across all scales'.

The INSIDE architect is an autonomous individual operating in an applied context who deploys the built environment as material for the imagination. He is somebody who acts with the intention of changing the built environment spatially and who succeeds in filtering and deploying the ingredients for change by researching the context.

In exploring and elaborating the design, INSIDE students are capable of communicating effectively with interested parties and stakeholders in and around the changing spatial context. Communication here means not only the gathering and conveying of information but also the skill in reading and narrating stories in and around the context in various ways.

Study assignments at INSIDE focus by definition on the user in his immediate environment. Working at this scale 'that relates most directly with people' calls for the elaboration of elements in spatial models and mock-ups. Accordingly, a design must never be elaborated in digital form alone but must also be worked out and presented in an analogue manner.

At INSIDE, entrepreneurship means both successfully running a design practice and launching vital processes of spatial change at one’s own initiative. Entrepreneurship refers more to the spirit of taking initiatives than to actually being an entrepreneur.

The INSIDE interior architect is capable of presenting a strong profile in a complex field filled with professionals engaged in spatial change. He can claim a position among clients, architects, contractors, users, manufacturers and suppliers of interior products, and legislators and regulators. In addition, the INSIDE interior architect is capable of functioning in multi-disciplinary teams and, when the context demands, adopting a meta-disciplinary position with a team.

The INSIDE architect possesses a personal and artistic ambition, passion and ability to formulate his own agenda of ideals for the interior space of the future, and from there, to arrive at exceptional and innovative spatial interventions that reflect a personal artistic cultural profile in their ultimate form.

The INSIDE student is very aware of his spatial responsibility in relation to the context of spatial change in which he operates and can identify cultural urgencies within this context.