October 14, 2019 Interior Architecture Students Imagine Future Workplaces

Our college is innovative, creative and curious. We draw on our roots and look forward to the future. We’re technology-driven, and we investigate problems to generate practical solutions to the changing design environment. 

In fall 2019, Interior Architecture Assistant Professor Rana Abudayyeh and Adjunct Assistant Professor Hochung Kim are leading their studios in researching and designing the potential for future workplaces, drawing on evolving technology.

Students at Gensler
Abudayyeh’s studio focuses on fluidity between interior and exterior spaces. Traditionally, these two aspects have been separated, but Abudayyeh encourages her students to break this boundary by being inspired by natural design. At the same time, she prioritizes our cohabitation with machines in the workplace, creating an “interspecies.”

Her studio’s goal is to explore natural elements, use these observed elements in the workplace and show that modeling workplaces after nature increases efficiency and aesthetics of interior spaces.

Using this point of view, Abudayyeh’s studio is designing an Amazon Prime air fulfillment center, which uses drones to deliver packages and uses a complex automated system to transfer goods to customers.

In Kim’s studio, students are drawing on the history and artifacts of the traditional workplace to develop their own path for the workplace’s future. Beginning with a deep analysis of office typology in factories, students then develop their own “design language” to guide their projects. The studio will build physical models that reflect their ideas after the research stage.

According to Kim, the relationship between space needed for machines and the work that machines do is loosening. As machines get more efficient and smaller, there is new potential for working space. This leaves two options: a featureless, white box container for this new technology or a redesigned ambient space that actually increases functionality. This is where his studio steps in to design a new ambient space. 

Kim’s studio is designing for an existing indoor student aquatic center on UT’s campus where they would take out the swimming pool and create a new office space.

View of visit to Segment
“Studying and diving into the workplace and modern-day office culture is extremely important because the majority of our lives will be spent in an office,” said Sam Richwine, 3rd-year Interior Architecture student in Kim’s studio. “Learning how to design efficient and interesting workplaces is an important part of my design career.”

Abudayyeh and Kim’s studios traveled to San Francisco Sept. 18-22, 2019, to tour workplaces of the future, including Google, Pixar, Airbnb and more. Watch our students’ Instagram takeover from the trip in our Instagram highlights.