In my second career, I studied interior design and architecture at Ball State University. In those years of study, I was exposed to design theory, new vocabulary, scholarly literature, and metaphorical/abstract design thinking. This exposure helped me understand and appreciate design: interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

Today, I am an Assistant Lecturer of Interior Design in the Ball State Interior Design Program. Reflecting on my education and life experience, I take a holistic approach to studio curriculum. I use poetic language and techniques learned from my background in music, gardening, interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

Our students experience this approach in their first interior design studio project entitled “Gate, Path, Lotus: The Adventure”. This project is based on a chapter from Anthony Lawlor’s book The Temple in the House, entitled “The Gate, the Path, and the Lotus Seat.” Lawlor says, “… the holy is not based so much on the physical environment, but on the experience and perceptions of it.” The project involves creating interior experiences in an outdoor setting. Students are given an 11” x 17” footprint for the project and a pushpin that symbolizes the scale figure. They decide on the venue for the complex and develop specific “interior activities” for four functions: a private function for 1 or 2 people, a semi-private function for 3 to 6 people, a public function for 7 or more people, and a Lotus Seat as the culminating activity for the complex. There is a symbolic gate at the beginning of the complex and layers of unfolding (features that obscure the functions) along the path. Each of the interior experiences is based on a single metaphoric concept and geometry for the project.

The goal of this studio project is to help students understand allied professions and to communicate with professionals in the design industry. Students are familiarized with professional standards, introduced to a diverse design vocabulary, and encouraged to design from the outside world inside and vice versa.

By Dale Potts
Assistant Lecturer of Interior Design