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This item originally appeared in the October 21, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Two Tech professors went to Dallas to cultivate a collaborative studio culture for the Interior Design Educator Council Southwest Regional Conference on Oct. 15.

Vibhavari Jani, an assistant professor of interior design, and William Willoughby, an assistant professor of architecture, presented a paper presentation, "Seeing from both sides: Cultivating a collaborative studio culture for interior design and architecture students."

"This is the first time since 1994 that I have heard of a professor of interior design and a professor of architecture presenting a collaborative presentation," Willoughby said.

"In the last 20 years there has been a division in [architecture and interior design] mostly because interior design has become a profession."

Willoughby said usually architects and interior designers do not get along, but he believes the two go hand in hand, and this collaboration is great.

Jani said 13 students from the School of Architecture and interior design worked on a preliminary design for a community center in Arcadia last summer.

The students worked with Jani and Willoughby, who were peers from each major, and also with the mayor of Arcadia, Eugene Smith, Jani said.

Jani said the community and the mayor were very helpful in the process. Willoughby said the students worked collaboratively all summer and came up with a preliminary design for the city's community center.

"The architecture students did the site master plan for the center, and the interior design students did the room and space planning for the center," Willoughby said.

Jani said the plans from the architecture students and the plans from the interior design students were able to combine on the project.

"That's when true collaboration started taking place," Jani said.

Willoughby said this collaboration has changed the atmosphere in Hale Hall, where the two schools reside.

"Before this collaboration the interior design students never walked into the architecture studio and the architecture students never walked in the interior design studio," Willoughby said.

Both Jani and Willoughby agreed that the students worked great with each other.

They were both very pleased with the outcome of the collaboration.

"The students were working so well together that I didn't even notice there was a collaboration going on," Jani said.

Lindsey Daniel, a senior architecture major, said, "This collaboration was a step in the right direction for interior design and architecture, because they both work in close enough fields.

"Working with the interior designers this summer made me decide to get a minor in interior design."

Jani and Willoughby were presented with the best paper presentation award in Dallas last weekend.

They were chosen out of the 30 schools that attended.

"There were professors there that have been teaching for 25-30 years and have never received this award," Jani said.

"It was an honor to receive it."

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