WMU institute renames program to meet dynamic demands of design industry

Contact: Brandi Engel

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's Richmond Institute for Design and Innovation has launched its interior architecture and design program, a move that marks not only a name change but a significant transformation that reflects a progressive approach to design education.

The evolution from interior design to interior architecture and design marks a significant moment for the institute, as it represents a shift toward a more comprehensive and holistic approach to designing interior spaces. The interior design program has always had a reputation for providing a strong interior and architectural design foundation and has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) since 1997. Renaming the program provides clear communication of curriculum, diverse faculty expertise and interdisciplinary experiences students will have within the Richmond Institute for Design and Innovation. 

The program is now better suited to meet the dynamic demands of the design industry and promote deeper engagement with the design community, says Director Philip Repp.

"It is an exciting time at the Richmond Institute for Design and Innovation," he says of the program change. "With the addition of the interior architecture and design program, and working alongside our outstanding product design program, the institute positions itself at the heart of interdisciplinary design education in the region and beyond. We are firmly committed to developing design professionals who will impact how we make our world better." 

This shift to interior architecture and design marks a turning point in the institute's history, reflecting its unwavering commitment to excellence and its dedication to preparing students for successful and impactful careers in design, Repp adds.

Key highlights of this transformation

Stronger emphasis on architecture

The new program integrates architectural principles into its curriculum, empowering students to take a holistic approach to interior spaces. This expanded focus equips them with a deeper skill set, opening doors to career opportunities in the interior design and architecture industries.

Enhanced creativity and innovation

By embracing an interdisciplinary approach, the interior architecture and design program encourages creativity and innovation. Collaboration across disciplines will challenge students to think beyond conventional boundaries, pushing the limits of design possibilities.

Community-centric design

The program will emphasize community-focused design, teaching students to create spaces that not only captivate the eye but also cater to the needs and aspirations of the people who occupy them. Graduates will be well-prepared to make a positive impact on their communities through thoughtful, sustainable design.

Industry-relevant skills

The interior architecture and design program equips students with the skills and knowledge highly sought after in today's design industry. Graduates will be prepared to meet the ever-evolving demands of the profession, ensuring long-term success.

Career opportunities

With a more diverse skill set and a focus on architectural principles, graduates will have a competitive edge in the job market, offering a broader range of career opportunities in interior design and architecture firms.

Interior Architecture and Design Mission

At the forefront of innovation and creativity, the interior architecture and design program at Western Michigan University is dedicated to shaping spaces that transcend boundaries, evoke emotions and enrich lives. With a passion for thoughtful design, we empower aspiring designers to blend artistry and functionality seamlessly, forging environments that inspire, embrace diversity and foster a harmonious coexistence with the world we inhabit. Our mission is to nurture visionary thinkers who re-imagine the built environment, leaving a lasting mark on the world, one captivating space at a time.

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