For an introduction to this series of articles please refer to : Taking the mystery out of transferring : What interior design program is best for you?http://iteachid.net/2018/01/23/taking-the-mystery-out-of-transferring-what-interior-design-program-is-best-for-you/
I was extremely excited to visit Otis College of Art and Design. This school has been on my radar for the last 10 years, and finally I had the opportunity to visit. Linda Pollari is the chair of the Architecture | Landscape | Interiors program at Otis. She and I had an absolutely fabulous discussion about their program, its fundamental ideals and the approach they take to teaching. I could feel Linda’s passion about the program and her students’ success as we toured the space and reviewed her students’ work. Unfortunately we have not had any Mt SAC students transfer into Otis’ program. I accept responsibility for this; I had not done my due diligence in researching this program and exposing you all to it. However, now that I have I am so excited to introduce to you (and enthusiastically recommend!) Otis College of Art and Design as a transfer path. Here’s why…
Otis College of Art and Design
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Program Title: Architecture | Landscape | Interiors
Department Chair: Linda Pollari, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pxsarchitecture.com
Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts
Program Length: 4 yr., Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½ years based on portfolio
How is Otis’s program different than others?
After sitting down with Otis’s department chair, Linda Pollari, I quickly understood that this is a very unique program. The first year combines the disciplines of Architecture, Landscape and Interiors and teaches basic design principles to all the proposed design majors simultaneously. Linda described it as a “boot camp.” Prior to moving onto their second year students select a specific major: Architecture | Landscape | Interiors being one of many.
Otis’s emphasis very early on is the idea of movement not only horizontally through a space but vertically. The goal is to teach students to visualize and describe three dimensional form successfully from the very beginning of the design process.
This is truly a multiple disciplinary program. There is a class in landscape that includes grading plans and site engineering. The architectural and interior focuses seem to be weaved together throughout the program which produces projects that are cohesive from the exterior to the interior. A few of their projects include designing landscape for an existing space, an interior jungle gym, and a housing project. In the senior year students develop an entire building and are responsible for every aspect of the space. Otis also offers lighting classes and certificates which can be taken concurrently with the programmed curriculum.
In some cases classes are designed to overlap so you may be designing a project in one class and bringing that work into another class to develop a design for the presentation. The design drawing programs of choice of are AutoCAD and Rhino.
In the final semester graduating students present a Sr. Show, and they are required to design and construct a display to house their Sr. Thesis. These are much more than beautiful exhibitions, they are designed in such a way that they carve out and redefine the existing space. Exploring the design process from its conception to the final outcome, Linda described this process as the closest thing to real life a student will experience on a college campus. They are designing and critiquing as a team, ultimately selecting one design to build. They must then engineer the design and understand exactly how to build it while working with a general contractor. The final exhibit is a full scale specialty project, a complete environment, where guests can walk through and experience the space.
Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?
Yes, based on Mt SAC projects I reviewed with Linda she feels that the Mt SAC student population would fit perfectly into the second year, second semester. Third year, which I know all of you want to achieve, is possible but would be very challenging because of their interdisciplinary program. You would be missing the landscape class in addition to the Rhino experience. Although Revit is acceptable at Otis Rhino is preferred. It may be possible to take these classes while still attending Mt SAC in order to achieve a third year starting point at Otis.
Is there a portfolio required?
Yes! There is not an official portfolio review to enter into the program, however you will need to show work from ALL of the classes that you intend to transfer. The classes that Linda and I have reviewed and have decided are similar and transferable must be up to par in your portfolio to be considered. Your work will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance into those classes.
What classes transfer?
Students must first sit with Linda to do a transfer evaluation based on their portfolio, and many of our Mt SAC classes will transfer. Otis allows 17 transfer units of foundation studio courses (first year), of which the Mt SAC ID can offer you 18. Otis also allows 22 units of transferable Architecture | Landscape | Interiors courses (Second year). Mt SAC ID can offer you 13 of the 22 units. To transfer in junior standing you are also required to have 24 units Liberal Arts and Science courses, and Mt SAC can offer you all of those.
There are two courses in the transferable Architecture | Landscape | Interiors category that Mt SAC ID cannot offer you. The first is Technologies and Ecologies I, but you may take AGOR 13: Landscape Design. The second is the Studio 2 Landscape Design class which I would recommend you take on the Otis campus.
Here is a link to all their classes. https://www.otis.edu/architecture-landscape-interiors/architecture-landscape-interiors-curriculum
Please Note: CALIFORNIA COLLEGES JUNIOR TRANSFER CHART TO Architecture | Landscape | Interiors Major on the Otis website is currently out-of-date and will be restructured in the near future
What’s the studio environment like?
The Architecture | Landscape | Interiors program at Otis takes up the entire 5th floor of the Emerson Hall. It’s a square building with the studios and lecture classrooms lining the outside walls. The walls on the core of the floor are lined with student projects that start from the foundation courses and wrap around to the Sr. Level Projects.
The studios are simple, efficient, bright, open and flexible. The desks and tables are moved out of the way when needed, specifically during the senior show in order to create the built environment.
Where are students getting hired?
Otis Architecture | Landscape | Interiors students are hired in a variety of different fields. Here just a few companies hiring Otis graduates: Ball-Nogues Studio, Los Angeles, Chang Jo Architects, Seoul, L I G H T I N G D E S I G N A L L I A N C E, Long Beach, and Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, Los Angeles.
The interdisciplinary approach at Otis is truly remarkable. After leaving, Otis students are going on to earn a master’s degree in architecture, landscape architecture or interior architecture. Some enter the workforce to gain the experience needed to become licensed architects and lighting designers. I really appreciate this program because of its broad perspective. It provides students with a variety of skills and pathways after graduating.