I’m sure we would all believe we’ve seen wrong methods of teaching in this vast field. This is somewhat an endless debate but also one that is necessary to improve the quality of education. That is, also of course if you think design can be taught. The best method would be to provide an environment for experimentation and introspective discussions with relevant guidance. We’re proudly bringing you a success story both in teaching and learning from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) in American University of Sharjah (AUS)
The project, called the ‘Bee’ah Wall’ was the result of a Design-Build undertaken by the Interior design studio as the culmination of their 4-year course. This batch comprised of 14 final year students. Although design-builds are common practice in their sister course of architecture, this is the first time it was implemented for interior design. It started off with the students showing an interest to take on a real life challenge which includes resolving issues like budget, logistics, fabrication etc.
We met Mr. Daniel Chavez, who acted as the instructor for the studio, to learn more about the project. It played out like a movie, with ups, downs and a happy ending! (Or maybe he’s just a great narrator) According to him, this project, which started on a high with gaining permission to undertake a design-build, took shape after the first presentation to the clients (i.e., the admin members of CAAD). The jurors felt that the ideas lacked boldness. The students although deflated, came back with more conviction and an action plan. They collectively decided on the attributes that they would like to incorporate into their design which resulted in 3 points: user specificity, sustainability and cost efficiency (in this case, practically free). After several weeks of discussing, planning, designing, budgeting, scheduling, material selection and finally fabricating, the ‘Bee’ah Wall’ came into being.
The wall is made completely out of reclaimed wood, with the seats and table top made from treated wood pieces. The reclaimed wood was sourced from the Bee’ah landfill. Bee’ah is an environmental management company, which is on its path of making Sharjah the first Arab city to reach the ‘zero waste to landfill’ goal. The entire project was executed by the students themselves, which includes the wiring for the lights and installation.
The entire wall hangs from a beam that runs along the length of the wall. The strips of wood were stuck together using adhesives to form narrow panels, which were hung in a continuous manner along the wall. There are small gaps between strips of wood, which allow light to break through from the back. The final product was accepted unanimously, to the whole team’s delight. Along with the wall, 2 portraits of the rulers were created using wood. They are also in talks to recreate a wall for the new Bee’ah headquarters.
It is a wonderful project that is sustainable from start to finish. Listening to Mr. Daniel talk shows the pride he feels in being a part of this project. We recommend you go take a look at the installation. Also, ten points will be awarded to you if you can spot a subtle signature left by the students on their creation.