March 4, 2020 Interior Architecture Students see Las Vegas in a New Light

old motel sign in Las Vegas

Our students don’t just see a city. They see the landscape, the people, the built environment, the problems and the solutions. They take obstacles and investigate ways to solve them through innovative design.

Third- and fourth-year students of the School of Interior Architecture in Adjunct Assistant Professor Hochung Kim’s studio traveled to Las Vegas and surrounding areas this February to see the city in a new light. Instead of seeing “Sin City,” students saw Las Vegas as a city of innovative potential.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, Las Vegas faces challenges such as population, traffic, extreme climate conditions and ecological impacts that come with rapid, vast development. By visiting Las Vegas, students gained an understanding about how environment influences design, and back in Knoxville, they have used this newfound perspective as a tool to better develop their studio projects.

Kim’s students are divided into sections, each focusing on a particular environment and its challenges. Fourth-year student Noah Hickey, focused his attention on the impact of the Las Vegas strip. “I had been researching the hotel and casino industry and how it has influenced things such as traffic, but actually being there allowed me to see first-hand how this city functions,” explained Hickey. “I think as a designer it is very important to see and experience your site in person to truly create a functional design.”

Other students such as 4th-year Interior Architecture student Lily Czulewicz, gained new insights into the function of color when designing her project for the harsh terrain of Death Valley. “In the casinos, the colors were dark and flashy and kept your attention,” said Czulewicz. “But the soft, pastel colors found in the buildings at Hoover Dam and Death Valley mimicked the natural colors of the surrounding mountains while also reflecting light and reducing heat.”

Kim’s studio traveled to Las Vegas Feb. 6-9 to tour the Las Vegas strip, Hoover Dam, Death Valley and more.

Learn more!

Read about Hochung Kim’s studio’s trip to San Francisco

Apply to the School of Interior Architecture


Article by Caitlin Long, communications intern