Throughout this semester, our class has delved into the most talked about topics within the sustainability world. From the basic understanding of community involvement, to industrial ecology, our class has covered many topics I had not otherwise heard of. After a semester’s worth of discussion, I would define sustainability as a conscious process that keeps the world’s resources at a constant, healthy state. In my opinion, sustainable design would be defined as an ecologically smart material selection including every area with substantial room to improve, such as energy, waste, etc. Both of these definitions vary from what I would’ve thought at the beginning of the semester. Honestly, I probably would have given them the same definition at the beginning of the year and I would have lacked depth and true understanding of what real sustainability was and how broad this term can be.
Who would’ve thought that blogging every week would really bring about a great self-reflection and better understanding of the week’s reading? I had no clue how much a weekly blog would help me understand the processes, terms, and ideas at a deeper level. Luckily, I have kept every blog that I have written this semester and have looked over them all before writing my final blog. Although I didn’t have an epiphany every week, when I did have an epiphany, it truly blew my mind and changed the way I thought on that specific topic. Sometimes the epiphany came because I didn’t even know about that week’s topic until the reading. Other times, the epiphany would be over something I had heard about, but always believed or understood it in a different way. One of the most pronounced, memorable epiphanies I had was the very first reading we were assigned. The reading was based around the people of Easter Island and their fall to a community death. I had never read anything so real and heart wrenching before. The idea that a whole people group can be gone because of irreversible environmental damages really struck me right to the core. The only distinction people tend to hear about are the dinosaurs, but we never hear about our own kind. This event really hit home to me and made me realize that every environmental decision I make has either a positive or negative impact. There is no middle ground on impact, and that was my epiphany. I’ve never considered the world and its resources differently until I read this article.
My third blog of the semester focused on differing perspectives within the design process and how important those varying perspectives are. Not only is this idea a very applicable idea to the interior design world, but I feel as though it is a very realistic goal to reach. My epiphany was not only a way to change my thinking, but also my actions; as designers we must realize that interdisciplinary design is useful to the client but also economically responsible and long lasting. The more specialists we have working on a certain project, the more efficient that project will be compared to a one-man design. Each section of the building will be sustainable in the best way possible used with the best technology available and may not known otherwise by the lead designer. This reading helped me realize I need to remember that teamwork within the workplace is a life skill that can change the path of a career in the positive light if it is fully understood and applied.
This class has so much usefulness and relevance intertwined within the reading and class discussions. First and foremost, the most relevant part of this class for interior design was learning about the buildings that have been recently built using sustainable ideas, products, and practices. Reading articles such as BedZed (which I went back and read) really opened my eyes into what sustainable design looks like and how visually appealing it can be. The overall usefulness this class brought about was the interdisciplinary aspect that the class offered because of the options that can take that class. Even if this was by default, I think the design of this class is a positive thing for the students. As different options can take the class, each option learns about the other options thought processes, target markets, companies, I feel as though hearing other people’s thoughts throughout the discussion process was very useful, especially hearing the merchandising side.
Knowing what I know now, in the future I would really like to learn about how to incorporate sustainable practices into already built buildings. I am really intrigued about historic preservation and feel as though looking at sustainable practices paired with historic properties would be very interesting. I really wasn’t sure what to except coming into this course but was pleasantly surprised with how much we learned and much we delved into bigger topics than just material selection.