Students get creative in interior design with temporary shelters

By Maegan Rocio

Staff Writer

Baylor professes to giving back to the community — and its students are living up to that claim.

Students in the Baylor Interior Design Association will design a collapsible, temporary 400-square-foot dwelling during a national competition sponsored by the Interior Design Educators Council.

The dwelling will be used to aid four-person families that are in need of shelter after a natural disaster has occurred.

The event has two parts: a campus event, sponsored by the Baylor Interior Design Association, that will give students two days to plan and design the shelter, and the national competition.

The designing period will be held on Nov. 9 – 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 111 Goebel Building.

The final project is due Dec. 15. The winners will be announced at the IDEC National Conference in Indianapolis on Feb. 19, 2013.

Greta M. Buehrle, a lecturer inthe family and consumer sciences department, said students will have to examine and address social issues that arise after a natural disaster.

“The basis for the national competition and what our students are then doing is pulling together an interdisciplinary team of students to look at this from different angles of the social problem,” she said.

Buehrle said students will also have to factor basic human necessities into their design such as clean water, available plumbing and electricity.

“All of these are things that kind of go wrong during natural disasters,” she said. “They have to grapple with that situation and understand how to design around that.”

Students can’t use tents in their design, but they can use any materials and decide what the structure should look like, Buehrle said.

“One of the biggest things is that it actually has to be a structure,” she said. “And there’s some specific parameters as far as the things that have to be included within the residence.”

Buehrle said the competition requires a three-minute video created in the form of a public announcement to explain the design ideas at the competition.

Bryan senior Allison Lutz, who is participating in the competition, said the challenge will be difficult and new altogether.

“Because the majority of us are interior design majors, we’re not used to creating spaces like this,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be a different type of project, and I think if we get the turnout we’re hoping for, then working with people from different majors, that’s going to be a factor as well.”

Buehrle said that students from different disciplines are encouraged to come out and participate in the planning process.

“That’s one of the really cool things about this interdisciplinary approach. Even if you don’t have design experience, we want your ideas to be able to engage people that maybe don’t even know what the design process is all about,” Lutz said.

Lutz said she is excited about the upcoming event and working with students who are not studying interior design.

“They don’t have the same design background we have, but they’re going to be coming at it with other beneficial information,” she said.

“The whole point of doing that is to see things from a different perspective.”

Buehler said she hopes this project will show students from differing disciplines that they can combine their efforts and work toward helping others.