Learning Design

Featuring: Randolph Community College

One of the things I enjoy most about my profession is the opportunity to meet and work with the talented design students attending or graduating from design schools. Thankfully, we have the privilege to host interns several times each year. This is an opportunity for both the students to learn the “real world” of design, as well as educating us about the quality and caliber of education these students are receiving.

Randolph Community College is one of the schools from which we have been fortunate enough to host interns. The program at RCC is aggressive and fast-paced, earning them respect from their peers. According to the RCC website: “Our program is based on the foundations of the principles of sustainability with an equal representation of residential and commercial design. Course of study includes drafting and presentational drawings, textiles, product and furniture design, professional practice, and portfolio development.” This year, RCC is celebrating its 45th Anniversary making it the first Interior Design program in the state of North Carolina and one of the oldest design programs in the Southeast.

As any design student will tell you, design projects are one of the most important – and rewarding – components of design school, even if they are hypothetical. Over the 2012 summer students were given two bare shell side by side buildings as a mock project for the summer. The design intent was to turn one side into a Go Red Clinic and the other side into a new headquarters for the American Heart Association in Dallas, Texas.

Through this summer long exercise, students advanced their design knowledge on the following topics:
Space Planning
Building Codes
Commercial Furniture Manufacturers
Commercial Finish and Textile Manufacturers
Healthcare Design
Office Design
Programming, schematics and design development
Advanced AutoCAD, Sketch-Up and Podium renderings
Evidence Based & Sustainable Design

To complete this 7000 square foot project, students were given an adjacency matrix and strict furniture requirements. That information combined with Evidence-Based design articles about constructing healthy work environments provided the material they needed to create bubble diagrams, followed by block plans and finally floorplans. As with any intense, time-driven project, students quickly identified their strengths and weaknesses. One such student is second year Brittany Privette who learned that she was very talented at space planning. Brittany’s clever use of an odd-shaped space stood out to the RCC faculty as well as her peers. Not only did she appropriately and cleverly lay the space out, she also addressed the shared courtyard, a space that many inexperienced designers may overlook.

Brittany did an excellent job with her renderings of the American Heart Association lobby and workstation area conveying her understanding of space and the importance of branding.

RCC is an excellent program that is educating the future leaders of design. To learn more about their design curriculum visit: Randolph County Community College Interior Design Program

About the Author

Christi Spangle

Christi Spangle

Barbour Spangle Design

Christi Spangle, ASID, NCIDQ Christi Spangle is an interior designer with over 25 years of experience in the design field. Her projects have included retail stores, corporate offices, multi-family housing units, clubhouses and showroom design. She is the co-owner of High Point based interior design firm Barbour Spangle Design established in 2000. Spangle is a graduate of Randolph Community College, a professional member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and a certified member of NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification). She serves as Co-VP of Public Relations for a local non-profit organization, Common Thread for the Cure and is highly involved with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fundraising events. She and her firm have received numerous local and national design awards for their outstanding projects.