Interior Design students plan new lab space, gather input from users

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Interior Design students in the Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel (FINA) Department recently used their talents to design a laboratory space in Hensill Hall.

This is not the first time that FINA students have provided design concepts for campus spaces. Previous projects include GYM 118, used by the Department of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism (RPT); the RPT department office in the HSS building; the Special Education department office in Burk Hall; and a space in Burk Hall dedicated to SF State students on the autism spectrum (part of a Special Education graduate student culminating experience project). 

Last summer, FINA Chair and Interior Design Professor Gus Vouchilas received a request from faculty within the College of Science and Engineering for assistance with the design of a new lab to be used within the Biology Department in Hensill Hall. The space, which combines three formerly separate labs into a single lab, will serve both students and faculty. The project was integrated into the Interior Design Graphic Communication II course.

The design students began by designing a survey to collect data from student and faculty lab users to help steer the project to achieve the necessary goals. The survey, sent out last summer, noted, “Our hope is to create space that enhances collaboration, is inspiring, meets the needs of our student and faculty work, and that can serve as a space that is supportive and comfortable to spend time in.”

Design students collected the survey data from 23 respondents, which provided a framework for the students to consider in their interior design work. Next, they invited students and faculty to a Q&A session to expound on and clarify specific questions regarding the survey responses. Then the FINA students visited the new lab space to chronicle all of the existing conditions and take measurements that would be used in their final design process. 

Each design student submitted a series of drawings that included floorplans for four major areas, three-dimensional views of all of the spaces, and a comprehensive list of specifications of products and material recommendations. All of the student work was displayed within the lab area for students who use the lab to give input. Finally, their comments were developed into a comprehensive list of needs that would be used to make the final decisions. 

SF State Director of Academic Technology Maggie Beers has supported this project utilizing her current educational design research and work on campus that seeks to create inclusive and inspiring student spaces. The project is currently underway with a goal of completion in the very near future.

Student design examples

Design by Carmen Tong

Lab design by Carmen Tong


Design by Shanella Salgadoe

Drawing by Shanella Salgadoe