Preface to Building Systems for Interior Designers pdf:
The inspiration for Building Systems for Interior Designers came when I tried to teach interior design students about all the ways buildings support our activities and physical needs—without an adequate textbook. I needed an approach that supported the special concerns of the interior designer, while connecting those issues to the work of the rest of the building design team. I had researched building systems in a number of excellent texts intended for architecture, engineering, and even hospitality management students, but I had found that none of those texts taught the necessary combination of related subjects in adequate depth without an emphasis on calculations and formulas. Interior design has a relatively short history as a profession requiring special training and demanding technical expertise.
Over the past half-century, design professionals have evolved from decorators working primarily in private residences to critical contributors in the design of commercial and residential buildings. We are expected to apply building codes and to work closely with engineers and architects. To do this, we must understand what the other members of the design team have to say, how they approach the design process, and how they document their work. The more we know about the process of designing and constructing a building, the more effective impact we can have on the results. To cite one example from my own largely commercial interior design practice, my discussion with the mechanical engineer on a spa project of alternate methods of supplying extra heat to a treatment room resulted in a design that improved both our client’s heating bills and his customers’ experience. The approach of architects and engineers to building design has changed from one of imposing the building on its site to one of limiting the adverse impact of the building on the environment by using resources available on site.
Sustainable design requires that we select materials wisely to create healthy, safe buildings that conserve energy. Sustainable design solutions cut across disciplines, and successful solutions arise only when all the members of the design team work together. As interior designers, we can support or sabotage this effort. We must be involved in the project from the beginning to coordinate with the rest of the design team. That means we must understand and respect the concerns of the architects and engineers, while earning their respect and understanding in return. Building Systems for Interior Designers is intended primarily as a textbook for interior design students. The style strives for clarity, with concepts explained simply and delivered in everyday language. Enough technical information is offered to support a thorough understanding of how a building works. The illustrations are plentiful and designed to convey information clearly and visually. I have kept in mind the many students for whom English is a second language—as well as the common technophobes among us—as I wrote and illustrated this text.
Featured throughout the book are special “Designer’s Tips.” Look for this icon to find helpful professional advice on a wide range of topics. Building Systems for Interior Designers covers some subjects, such as heating and air-conditioning systems, that are rarely included in other parts of an interior designer’s education. Other areas, such as lighting, typically have entire courses devoted to them, and are given a less thorough treatment here. While some topics, such as acoustics or fire safety, are intimately tied to the work of the interior designer, others, such as transportation systems, involve the interior designer less directly, or may be absent from some projects altogether. This text assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of building design and construction, but no special training in physics or mathematics. I have sought to cover all the related systems in a building in sufficient depth to provide the reader with a good general understanding, while avoiding repetition of material most likely covered in other courses and texts. As the book has evolved, it has become obvious that this material is also valuable for people involved in making decisions about the systems in their own buildings, whether they are homeowners or facilities managers. Practicing interior designers and architects will also find Building Systems for Interior Designers a useful reference when checking facts and researching options. Interior designers preparing for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) professional certification exam will also benefit from this text. Building Systems for Interior Designers has evolved from an initial set of lecture notes, through an illustrated outline, to classroom handouts of text and illustrations, and finally into a carefully researched and written illustrated text. In the process, I have enriched my own understanding of how buildings support our needs and activities, and this understanding has in turn benefited both my professional work as an interior designer and my continuing role as a teacher. It is my hope that, through this text, I will pass these benefits along to you, my readers.
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