On Friday, April 15th, students from FIU’s Sustainable Practices in Interior Architecture course presented their final design proposals at YWCA Miami for its “Clubhouse” and Teen Room. In a coordinated effort by Senior Instructor, Katie Rothfield and YWCA Miami, the students were asked to help with the interior renovation of these existing spaces.
The YWCA uses its “Clubhouse” and Teen Room for the free after-school programs they offer to young people and teens, ages 10-17. Although the organization’s mission focuses on women, their after-school programs are open to both boys and girls alike. “The Clubhouse” has newer computers and printers that were funded by Intel. As a result of this contribution, the YWCA is required to maintain a set of brand standards created by Intel that include design guidelines and naming the room, “The Clubhouse.” The YWCA uses “The Clubhouse” for many programs such as career readiness, health, cooking, and leadership clubs. The main area of “The Clubhouse” has two adjoining rooms, a music studio and an office, that the FIU Interior Architecture students included in their design proposals. The Teen Room is also a multi-functional space that hosts a variety of activities.
The youth who participate in these programs primarily come from the local neighborhood of Overtown, which is one of the lowest income neighborhoods in Miami. Only 6% of Overtown’s population have college degrees, and to improve this statistic, the YWCA aims to provide the youth with positive role models.
The Interior Architecture students worked in five teams of four. Their design proposals not only met the functional and aesthetic needs of the YWCA but also provided sustainable environments with aspects aimed to educate occupants about sustainable practices. To help complete these objectives, the students conducted a site visit in mid-February, 2016, which included a tour of the property, a meeting with stakeholders, and the facilitation of a focus group discussion with users of the YWCA Miami spaces. The students also researched the YWCA using the organization’s website and the Internet, site visit photographs, press releases, videos, and any other available resources.
Then, the students presented conceptual design proposals for “The Clubhouse” and Teen Room to the YWCA stakeholders, who, in turn, provided comments on the students’ work. Lastly, all student teams incorporated the stakeholders’ feedback into the final proposals that were shown on April 15th.
The design proposals were well-received by the YWCA stakeholders. Eileen Maloney-Simon, CEO, said to the students on presentation day, “I could tell your heart and soul went into this. Our future is brighter because of what you have to offer.” The YWCA youth who attended the presentations were inspired by both the achievement of the FIU students as well as the ingenuity of their sustainable designs. Moreover, the FIU students gained experience applying knowledge of sustainable practices gained throughout the course, working with real client and budget constraints, representing the profession of interior design, and making a positive impact on the lives of people in their community.
Under the leadership of Senior Instructor, Katie Rothfield, FIU’s Sustainable Practices in Interior Architecture course aims to create service learning opportunities for students and the communities they serve. For more information about this project, including how you can contribute, or to have your project considered for future service learning partnerships, please contact Katie Rothfield at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written with the help of Senior Instructor, Katie Rothfield.