A.A. Environmental + Interior Design
FREEDOM to EXPLORE … SKILLS to EXCEL
Interior Design is the rigorous process of problem-solving that integrates the technical skills of the craftsperson, the aesthetic sensibilities of the artist, and the empathy of the humanist.
The mission of Chaminade University’s Environmental + Interior Design Program is to educate, engage and empower students to optimize design of the built environment as it relates to our global, multi- cultural, multi-generational living and working communities. Graduates are prepared to make the transition to entry-level professional practice and to collaborate with architects and related industry professionals.
The interior design program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Environmental + Interior Design is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, 206 Grandville Avenue, Suite 350, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503.
The CIDA-accredited program prepares students for entry-level interior design practice, for advanced study, and to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Environmental + Interior Design granted by Chaminade University of Honolulu meets the educational requirement for eligibility to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination (NCIDQ Exam). For more information about NCIDQ Exam eligibility visit: cidq.org/eligibility-requirements.
We are proud to acknowledge that 100% of our graduates over the last five years have been employed in full-time design-related positions within six months of graduation. Click here for additional student achievement data.
Our E+ID program is unique from other academic programs, in that it extends beyond the traditional scope of interior design by encompassing the broader aspects of the environment into the design process. The curriculum addresses the symbiotic relationship between the indoor (built) and the outdoor (natural) environments by cultivating a design approach that integrates rather than compartmentalizes the spaces and places humans occupy. Aspects of this expanded perspective include: the influence of site conditions (climate, sun, wind, views, natural amenities) on the interior; the relationship of interior spaces to their exterior surroundings; landscaping considerations; ecologically-sound design; and building facade design. Also emphasized throughout the curriculum is the knowledge and application of sustainable design and universal design principles, which speak to the health, safety and well-being of the public we serve. This broader environmental perspective helps us to understand our connection not just to the building itself, but also to the land, to the community, and to the planet.
How then does Environmental + Interior Design differ from architecture? While there is much common ground between the fields of interior design and architecture, architects generally work at a larger scale, creating the building shell and addressing its relationship to its site. Interior design operates on a more intimate scale, with an emphasis on human experience. Interior designers are concerned with how people use, perceive, behave, and interact in the spaces they inhabit. Important aspects of the user’s perspective that are addressed are safety, health, accessibility for users of varying abilities, and comfort–not only physical comfort, but also psychological and social well-being. Over 75% of what a person experiences in a space is multi-sensory – light, color, sound, tactile quality, thermal quality, air quality and olfactory engagement – which falls under the purview of interior design.
Design is a balance between the practical and feasible with the imaginative and abstract. A design education builds a comprehensive skillset: it cultivates creativity and discipline, organizational and interpersonal skills, artistic and technical drawing skills, planning and management capabilities, and a collaborative work ethic.
Service Learning – In the CUH tradition of Service-Learning – an essential theme of the school’s pedagogy and mission – students participate in real-life projects working in partnership with non-profit organizations in order to serve local communities in need. Students learn to embody altruistic values in professional practice and experience first-hand how design can contribute to a more just society. They are also afforded the opportunity to be involved with a ‘live’ project in which they see their design proposals realized, and accrue invaluable experience interacting with real clients and challenging constraints.
E+ID Student Experiences – Design projects are geared towards providing a platform for students to apply what they have learned in their courses to solve real design problems. Freedom to explore in a safe environment fosters the ability to be open-minded; to engage in the iterative process of design; and to discover valuable lessons from mistakes and successes. Ultimately, a competent, confident, collaborative, teachable, skillful designer emerges. Students are encouraged to be creative and imaginative, while not losing sight of the need to develop practical, viable, cost-effective solutions. As part of the design process, students explore both abstract and the theoretical ideas in conjunction with pragmatic considerations.
Internships – a requirement of the E+ID program, internships provide students with opportunities to explore the numerous and varied opportunities that a degree in design affords them. Guided by faculty and connected with industry professionals, students may intern for small to large architecture or interior design firms; contractors; lighting designers; furniture vendors/manufacturers; architectural finish vendors; theatrical, television or movie performance agencies; historic preservation agencies … the list is quite endless!
Professional Connections – In the spirit of camaraderie, students are encouraged to enter design competitions, participate in local design events, and become involved in leadership opportunities in IDpro (Interior Design Professional Resource Organization). This student-led organization offers students affiliations and connections with the local professional chapters of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), IIDA (International Interior Design Association) and NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association). IDpro, in partnership with these organizations and internal fundraising, has provided travel opportunities for students to conferences, which is a key experiential component to counter-balance our isolated location and access to resources.
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Our faculty members are leaders in their fields. They believe in the power of personal experience—stressing mentorship, collaboration and project-based learning inside and outside the classroom.
Chaminade University of Honolulu is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Chaminade University of Honolulu’s Environmental + Interior Design is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).