Oregon State University interior design seniors have taken their education and applied it to help make the new Student Experience Center (SEC) a more “zenful” place.
The center is a student activities building which will be constructed to the east of the Memorial Union bookstore, where a parking lot currently exists. The building will house student-run organizations currently existing in Snell Hall, including student media.
Students in the Department of Design and Human Environment’s advanced commercial studio class this term were asked to propose their own original designs for a contemplative space in the SEC, to primarily be used for meditation and religious reflection. Associate professor Marilyn Read said she wants people to see and benefit from the strengths of the students in the program.
“The students are providing excellent ideas,” Read said. She said the students have used research about how their peers would use the student center to inform their designs.
The class gives students practical experience with working with clients. During the course they’re collaborating with Opsis Architecture, the firm who will be designing the SEC. The Opsis interior designer working with the students to develop the beginning design stages, Sondra Jakubowski, is a 2005 OSU graduate of the DHE interior design program. Jakubowski visited with the students to help explain Opsis’s vision and to review design developments.
“It has been a great opportunity for the students to work with a professional client. My part in this project has been to give a helpful perspective of how to find a solution to problems that may occur,” Jakubowski said. “I love working with the students. It’s been a fun way to give back to OSU, working on the center’s design development.”
Each of the seven groups of students put in tremendous amounts of research before conceptualizing their designs, making sure to incorporate both necessary and desired aspects of the space.
“We formulated our design from the panel members and our survey of peers,” said Julie Hanano, a senior in interior design. “We asked around 20 to 25 people what meditation is and what it meant to them, and then incorporated those aspects.”
Feedback included wanting earthy tones, natural lighting, water features, partitions for privacy, and a space that was welcoming to all religious faiths. Groups incorporated sheer materials into their designs to create a sense of privacy while still allowing light to shine through the space. Additionally they used water features to give a feeling of nature to the space.
Reyna Vaughn and Hannah Lloyd, both seniors in interior design, designed a space for flexibility and for multiple uses. “Since it’s a student space we also wanted to include student artwork on the walls, and create a place that people of all religions felt comfortable in,” Vaughn said.
After the senior projects are presented to the SEC stakeholders and Opsis Architecture, the aim is to incorporate ideas presented by the students into the next stages and final design of the contemplative space. The SEC is expected to be finished within the next two years.
~ Makenzie Marineau