: CSULB : Taking the mystery out of transferring : What interior design program is best for you?

The California State University, Long Beach Interior Design program CSULB ID is my Alma Mater, and so visiting the campus is like going back home. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity not only attend CSULB ID but also to have taught there as well. It’s always exciting to connect with the professors and colleagues that I haven’t seen over the last several years. My education and teaching background from CSULB ID is what lead to the evolution of the current Mt SAC ID program. Our structure and curriculum was developed based on the knowledge, work ethic and rigger I gained here. CSULB ID’s methodology and implementation of philosophy is well proven. It gives its students a strong foundation of design and challenges the ideas of how shape and form can effect social, cultural and environmental awareness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Ryan, the undergraduate adviser, to look at the things that have changed since I have been there, and the things that will be changing on the CSULB ID campus.


California State University Long Beach Interior Design

Location: Long Beach, CA

Program Title: Interior Design

Department Chair: Martin Herman

Undergraduate Advisor: Rachael Ryan 562.985.4368 rachael.ryan@csulb.edu

For Department Tours please email: csulbdesignambassador@csulb.edu

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Program Length: 4 yr., Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½-3 years based on portfolio

Website: https://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Home.html

How is CSULB’s program different than others?

California State University, Long Beach prides itself on having a very high quality design education. Their faculty is a mix of tenured and part-time professors who continue to work in the field and possess an ongoing mastery of the skill sets required to succeed in industry. There is also a constant flow of guest lectures and critics who keep the design discussion current and relevant preparing students for industry.

CSULB ID has both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design BFA and a Bachelor of Arts in Design BA. The BFA consists of 132 semester units. The first 2 years consist of foundation design work where you may be in studio with industrial design students and BA design students. In the 4th semester (end of the second year) you are required to submit a portfolio of work from your prior classes. For you as a transfer student this would mean many of your Mt SAC classes. Portfolios are reviewed by a panel of judges made up of CSULB ID professors.  If your work ranks among the top you will be moved ahead to your 3rd year where the upper division design studios begin (the 3rd and 4th years of the program).  If you choose this track you are most likely on the path to a career in the commercial interior design industry.

The Bachelor of Arts in Design program is shorter requiring only 120 semester units. It is structured for students who are interested in a more broad understanding of design. Many of the foundation classes overlap between the two programs and is strong in both. The two programs differ in how you decide to apply your knowledge. With this degree there is more opportunity to focus on a specific area of study such as lighting design, furniture design or user experience.


Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?

YES! Mt SAC students have seamlessly transferred into both programs, and have proven to be successful in not only transferring, but passing portfolio review for the BFA program. We have gotten personal notes from faculty at CSULB in regards to how much they enjoy our students. Currently it is taking Mt SAC transfer students approximately 3 years to complete the CSULB ID program. There is a push however from the Cal State system to guarantee transfer students can complete in 2 years. The CSULB ID program is currently working on how to shift and combine classes in order to accomplish that, stay tuned.

As I mentioned, several classes are shared by both the BFA and BA programs. Often times transferring students are accepted into the BA program when ultimately the BFA is their goal. This should not be seen as a setback or a slight by any means. It is the opportunity to take the few classes Mt SAC ID cannot offer you and also prep your portfolio for review. Once you have reached the requirements to submit your portfolio and you’ve passed portfolio review you are then transferred into the BFA program.

Is there a portfolio required?

Yes! You must first apply to the college through the general admission process and meet the minimum major-specific requirements and competitive ranking based on the CSULB Supplemental Application. If you are successful in this process you will then be individually invited to submit a portfolio electronically through Slide Room to be reviewed by faculty.

CSULB Supplemental Application: http://www.csulb.edu/admissions/supplemental-application

BA and BFA: Transfer Students https://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Transfer_Students.html

Once you have completed all the required lower division courses you must complete a portfolio review to enter the CSULB ID BFA program, junior and senior studio courses. The portfolio review is a competitive evaluation process. Your portfolio must include the work you completed at Mt SAC and anything you completed at CSULB ID. You will want to go over ALL of your work in fine detail to improve it. You will have experienced significant growth from your first few classes at Mt SAC and you will probably want to redo a lot of your former work. Do not wait until the last minute, start early.

BFA Interior Design Roadmap: http://web.csulb.edu/depts/design/CSULB_DESN/Department_of_Design___BFA_Interior_Design___Roadmap_files/BFA%20Interior%20Design-Roadmap%20AY2017-18-Transfer_1.pdf

The track for BA students is a bit different; there is not a second portfolio review. The first year consists of foundation level courses very similar to that of the BFA program, however in the 3rd and 4th semesters students are allowed to select from a list of upper division design electives of which you must take a minimum of 16 units. This is where you have the opportunity to follow a specific design career and create a program to suit your particular needs, desires and interests.

What classes transfer?

Most of our classes transfer. We have found the students who complete the Mt SAC ID program are more successful once they enter CSULB ID. Although all of the classes do not transfer directly, they set up a good foundation and skill level for going into the portfolio review. They may however articulate for a class that is not officially documented, but only if your portfolio is outstanding. So let’s all be outstanding!


What’s the studio environment like?

The junior and senior studio spaces are set up very much like corporate workspaces. Students share semi private workstations and have keys to access their respective studios 24 hours a day. Many, many, many hours are spent in studio. Each class has the ability to slightly customize the environment by bringing in sofas, futons and microwaves to make the environment cozier. Once you are in your upper division studios your professors come to you so this is your only classroom environment.

 Where are students getting hired?

Once a year, prior to graduation CSULB ID host a Sr. Show. The seniors are responsible for setting up the work, inviting guests and hosting the show. Professionals from industry are invited and this is one of the many opportunities graduating students have to promote themselves and their abilities to prospective employers. CSULB ID students also receive many exciting design opportunities including competitions, job and internship prospects. CSULB ID graduating students are highly sought after in industry.


: Woodbury : Taking the mystery out of transferring : What interior design program is best for you?

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/

Stepping onto the Woodbury campus is always a very peaceful feeling. It is small, quiet and well integrated into nature. One of my favorite memories is of a deer that visited my materials class multiple times one semester. I taught at Woodbury for several years and am in awe of how the program has grown and changed. I have always found Woodbury to be an excellent transfer option for Mt SAC ID students and my opinion remains steadfast after my most recent visit.

Woodbury University

Location: Burbank, CA

Program Title: Interior Architecture

Department Chair: Christoph Korner christoph.korner@woodbury.edu 818-394-3325

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Program Length: 4 years. Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½-3 years based on portfolio

Website: https://woodbury.edu/program/school-of-architecture/programs/interior-architecture/

How is Woodbury’s program different than others?

I sat down to speak to Christoph Korner, the program chair, about Woodbury’s Interior Architecture Program. What stood out as a distinguishing factor in this design program is the exploration of process and concept develop in the studio classes. Conceptual thinking and intellectual concepts are the driving force behind the structure of a project. A force like “gravity” is studied, and through a series of conceptual evolutions and manipulations the concept manifests form and physical condition. For example, a student may be asked to create a new material of his or her choosing. The newly developed material acts as the concept and the driving force behind the final design. This concept driven way of teaching pushes students beyond the boundaries of traditional paradigms. It elevates the ideas, forms, and built environment. Traditional classes such as space planning and lighting design are technical skill based classes that support the studios and integrate problem solving in a more traditional way.

Woodbury provides their Sr. Level students the ability to customize their final thesis projects. If a student has a particular interest or specialty, their project can be devoted strictly to what they would like to focus on. For example, if during your time at Woodbury you discover that furniture design is your passion, your senior thesis project could be a furniture piece or series of related pieces.

 Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?

YES! Several Mt SAC students have transferred to Woodbury and are currently in the 4 year Interior Architecture program. Christoph has had wonderful things to say about our program and our students who have transferred. They are coming in well prepared and eager to continue their educational careers. Students’ expectations of transferring, however, are often too high. Most hope they will enter directly into their 3rd year, but there is an additional studio class required that Mt SAC ID cannot provide and only Woodbury can offer.

I often advise students (even if they are not happy about it): It’s a good thing to take a few lower division classes before jumping in full throttle. Why? It helps you get acclimated to a new culture, a new way of thinking and a new campus. In addition you will not be bogged down with classes in your final year. You will be able to focus primarily on your senior studio and what lies ahead.

Interior Architecture Senior Yumin Zeng (Mt SAC transfer student) was selected as one of fourteen recipients of the Angelo Donghia Foundation 2015 Senior Student Scholarship.

Is there a portfolio required?

Yes! You are required to submit a portfolio of all the classes you wish to transfer conveying the range of work completed at Mt SAC. Projects must be organized and labeled by course, sorted from earliest to most recent course taken. Hand drawing should not be overemphasized, it is not important for determining transfer placements. The process – how you solved a problem and came to your design conclusion – is very important.

Woodbury also has a required portfolio review to enter the third year Interior Architecture program. Portfolios are graded based on a rubric by several faculty members. I was on this committee many years ago and it is not an easy process. Do your best to make your portfolio stand out. Keep it clean, organized and professional. Typically 70% of the students that apply for the 3rd year will pass. Transfer students have a bit more of a difficult time, another good reason to have the additional semester or two at Woodbury under your belt. Thus far all of the Mt SAC students that have applied have been accepted to Woodbury, and all have progressed through portfolio review and on to their 3rd year once they were eligible.

Additional information: https://wu2016.wpengine.com/admissions/undergraduate-admission/how-to-apply/Trends on Campus

 What classes transfer?

Below is a link to Woodbury’s transfer information both Mt SAC ID and the best general education courses to take. I would encourage you to take Mt SAC ID courses even if ART or ARCH courses are listed as acceptable. Our classes better align with both Woodbury’s way of thinking and teaching.


What’s the studio environment like?

Simple, effective… AND OPEN 24 HOURS! There is also access to a wood/metal shop, a materials resource library, a digital fabrication lab, a lighting lab, computing facilities and a render farm.


 Campus Trends

There is a growing amount of interdisciplinary studies at Woodbury which embraces the growing trend of workforce fluidity we see in the current market. Woodbury’s programs are flexible enough that students are crossing boundaries and majoring in two distinct areas. A student in the Interior Architecture program may be minoring in filmmaking. Students are then able to combine these artistic fields or move seamlessly into different freelance careers upon graduation. Woodbury is preparing for this new way of working and creating inner disciplinary majors. Stay tuned.

 Where are students getting hired?

Christoph has found that Woodbury graduates think “bigger picture” and are excellent problem solvers. Once they’re working in the field they seem to move up the ladder and into leadership positions very quickly. Bestor Architecture, BNIM, Callison, RTKL, CannonDesign, Chu + Gooding, Gensler, Gruen Associates, HDR, HED, HKS Architects, HOK, NBBJ, Omgivning, Perkins + Will, Wolcott Architecture Interiors, and ZGF are a few of the places they are being hired.

: Cal Poly Pomona UCLA Extension Master of Interior Architecture : Taking the mystery out of transferring: What interior design program is best for you?

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/

The Mt SAC Interior Design program has a very diverse student population. Some of our students are just graduating high school while others are interested in jump starting a second career. I’ve seen one class turn into two classes, two classes turning to a year and by the end of two years the student’s vision has shifted into something very different from where it started. The Cal Poly Pomona UCLA Extension Master of Interior Architecture is an opportunity for Mt SAC students who have already achieved a bachelor’s degree in another field to pursue graduate studies in interior design, and the transition from our program to theirs is seamless. The master’s degree is offered in partnership with UCLA Extension and Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design, Department of Architecture. The classes are taught at UCLA Extension facilities in Westwood, Los Angeles.

Master of Interior Architecture: https://youtu.be/U38f78Oxfjg

 Cal Poly Pomona UCLA Extension

Location: Classes are located at the UCLA Extension campus in Westwood, California

Cal Poly Pomona Department: College of Environmental Design

Program Title: Interior Architecture, M.I.A.

UCLA Extension Program Coordinator: Nicholas Sitter, nsitter@unex.ucla.edu (310) 794-3747

UCLA Extension Program Advisor: Suzanne Sheppard, SSheppar@unex.ucla.edu

UCLA Extension Program Director: Jeffrey Daniels

Degree: Master of Interior Architecture (M.I.A.) issued from Cal Poly Pomona

Program Length: 1 1/2 yrs. Certificate, 1 yr. master’s

Mt SAC Transfer Student 1 yr. Certificate, 1 yr. master’s (if you already have a BA)

Website: http://www.artcenter.edu/academics/undergraduate-degrees/environmental-design/overview.html

How is UCLA Extension’s program different than others?

I sat down with Suzanne Sheppard to talk about the qualities and benefits of the UCLA extension program. One of the things that she described was the level of student commitment. The majority of the UCLA population are returning for a second career and most have been very successful in their first career. They come from varying disciplines: business, the arts and fashion are a few. The students are not only more mature in their outlook on life but they also bring the skills from their first career to the table. This brings up the level of class work. The UCLA instructors are all professionals that are working in the field and teach industry standards and expectations.

Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?

As of yet we have had no students transfer to the UCLA program, however, I am very confident that our students will come in well prepared. UCLA Extension has an institutional policy that allows only 25% of a certificate program to be awarded as Advanced Standing. For the Interior Design program, that is the equivalent of 5 classes, meaning that you would still need to take 13 classes in order to earn a certificate prior to starting the Master of Interior Architecture Program. In some rare instances, a prospective MIA student may only be lacking information or skills from one or two classes. In that event, the prospective student would have to take those missing classes from the certificate level program. However, they could not earn a Certificate.

Is there a portfolio required?

Portfolios for the master’s level are not required for students who have completed studios I & II in the foundation level at UCLA. Applicants must provide a statement of purpose explaining your interests, motivations and goals in pursuing a professional degree in interior architecture as well as three standard letters of recommendation. The work you are requesting to transfer from Mt. SAC for the 5 foundation level classes at UCLA will be presented in an informal portfolio for review by the program coordinator in order to assess your level of ability. Any work that is deemed unacceptable or not meeting UCLA’s standard will not be transferred.

If you have taken these classes elsewhere a physical portfolio must be mailed to the campus. It should be bound and not be any larger than 9″ x 12″. It must illustrate your creative ability in graphic form. NEVER send your original work.

What classes transfer?

Most of the Mt SAC classes transfer with the exception of the kitchen and bath studios. Keep in mind – you are only able to use our classes to substitute 5 of their foundation classes. Some of our classes need to double up in order to meet UCLA’s unit requirement. You’ll notice on their schedule that UCLA is on the quarter system and Mt SAC is on a semester system. As we are articulating classes you must do a bit of math in order to satisfy their unit requirements. For example: 1 semester unit = 1.5 quarter units, 2 semester units = 3 quarter units, 3 semester units = 4.5 quarter units, 4 semester units = 6 quarter units. I’ve attached a spread sheet that shows which classes may transfer. This is not a formal articulation and transfer is based of portfolio. Here is a link that shows you their classes and sequence.

UCLA IA Quarterly Curriculum Sequence: http://arcid.uclaextension.edu/quarterly-curriculum-sequence/

What’s the studio environment like?

The studio spaces are relatively corporate, the wall structure is exposed and left open on the top to allow light to penetrate the space. The classrooms are very similar to the Mt SAC ID Studio. There is a small lab space open to the corridors for students to work in-between classes.

: Art Center College of Design : Taking the mystery out of transferring: What interior design program is best for you?

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 spent a wonderful two and a half hours at Art Center College of Design. I met with David Mocarski, department chair for both the graduate and undergraduate Environmental Design programs. Both programs are truly exciting and have a unique perspective on what interior design is. The Art Center program is titled Environmental Design because they pride themselves on achieving a holistic space that is cohesive from the big picture all the way to its minute details. Each project develops the spatial experience using form, structure, furniture, materiality, graphics, logo design, topography and wayfinding. Art Center also prides itself on giving students the top of the line facilities and technologies.

Art Center College of Design

Location: Pasadena, CA

Program Title: Environmental Design

Department Chair: David Mocarski, department chair, graduate and undergraduate Environmental Design

Director of Recruitment: David Salow, divid.salow@artcenter.edu, 626 396-2324

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Program Length: 4 yr., Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½ years based on portfolio

Website: http://www.artcenter.edu/academics/undergraduate-degrees/environmental-design/overview.html

How is Art Center’s program different than others?

Art Center employs a 3D approach to teaching very early in the program. During the 2nd term students begin creating digital wire frames of their designs. David has noticed that walking though the perceived spaces gives students a more tangible understanding of what a space will look and feel like three-dimensionally.

Students very early on are learning how to tell their “design story” a term used at Art Center that is similar to the idea of concept. The design story defines what the user of the space experiences. As the story is told it emphasizes how the elements used support the design story. So what we understand as “concept” becomes an expanded idea. The story weaves together the big picture, the experience the user will have as they move though the space, and hopefully engages the audience and sells the project.

David acknowledged that “the creative process is a messy one, there’s always risk involved. The question is how do you work through that? Thoughtful innovation is never born out of comfort, it is a period of discovery.” Students at Art Center are allowed to be free in how they solve problems and tell their design stories. Filters or program such as budget, location, and cultural influence are given to students midway through a project.

One aspect of Art Center I truly appreciate is that the academic classes are customized to support your field of study. For example a Branding Strategies class would be considered general education and works in conjunction with your Portfolio Development class. History & Theory of Space: Looking Back includes the evolution of lighting, which directly aids students in Illumination: Lighting where they apply that knowledge to fixture design. In 5th year studio students are allowed to find their personal voice. Projects can vary from specific items like furniture or lighting or to broad ideas like hospitality.

Arts Center is distinctive because it combines all facets of design. Some schools may specialize more in theory, others in production, Art Center synthesizes both theory and production and prides itself in staying on par with the industry to ensure they are producing marketable students. They are unapologetically industry driven.

Are Mt SAC Students transferring well prepared?

David has reviewed several Mt SAC student portfolios and was quite impressed with the quality of the work. The one concern we both have is that Rhino and Solidworks are the primary 3D and rendering programs used throughout the program. They are learned and used in the first four terms of the program. I would suggest prior to starting Art Center you take classes in Rhino so that you are not falling behind. There are a few options to achieve this. There is an Intro to Rhino at Art Center’s night program, or you could start at Art Center a semester prior to starting full time. In addition there are online options like Linda.com that host Rhino Training and Tutorials.

Linda.com: https://www.lynda.com/Rhino-training-tutorials/302-0.html

Art Center at Night: https://www.artcenter.edu/acn/portfolio.jsp

 Is there a portfolio required?

Yup! Applicants will be considered for their design concepts, as well as basic drawing and model-making skills. All of your work will be reviewed to ensure that it is up to standard. Even if you have a top notch portfolio I would recommend starting in the 3rd or 4th term in the 2nd year. Even if you have completed our program this will give you time to comfortably assimilate into the culture, pick up the 3D classes, and the hands-on technical skills that are taught very early on. This strategy will leave you with 2 ½- 3 years at Art Center.


What classes transfer?

Studio art credit is awarded based on a combination of portfolio work and prior college credit. It is never awarded solely on a listing of courses on a transcript. There is not an official transfer agreement with Arts Center, transfer is based solely on portfolio. David was impressed with the student portfolio work from Mt SAC that he has seen over the last year and gets the sense that our students would be very successful transferring into the 4th term, giving them 2 ½ more years to complete the program if they gained Rhino experience.

 What’s the studio environment like?

The campus is extremely beautiful and well maintained. The corridors are mostly concrete with all the structures and supports showing. The studios are simple open spaces that remain open 24 hours and students have created dividers for privacy. There are no cushy chairs only metal stools and projects are pinned up for presentation or laid out on the floor for group work. The graduate environment is slightly cushier. They have their own wing of the building right underneath the undergraduates, and the corridor is lined with projects. They have their own 3D imaging lab and a materials library.


Where are students getting hired?

Internship placement was describe as “custom dating!” I love that! You’re asked as you progress through the program: what is your heart’s desire? Who are the designers or architects you admire? What firms are doing the kind of work that inspires you, no matter where they are in the world? Once it is time for you to begin an internship, you are posed with five questions; where do you want to go, what defines your design style, where do you want to work in the world, what do we need in your portfolio to achieve that? Art Center assists you in developing a portfolio to achieve your desires, and assists in helping you find your dream firm no matter where they are in world. Because they are so well connected and known globally the sky is the limit. Typically six weeks after graduation all Art Center graduates have been hired.


Market Trends

David has noticed a trend that firms are now hiring what he has dubbed “turnkey students.” Traditionally an entry level designer would start in a very low level position and very gradually work their way up, learning as they go. This seems to no longer be the case, and has become a game changer in the industry. A turnkey student is defined as someone who can hit the ground running, jump in to a higher level position, have a very clear professional voice and be effective immediately. The better prepared the students are the more successful they will be.

Opportunity Seeking in a Shrinking World: David Mocarski at TEDxSoCal

Taking the mystery out of transferring: What interior design program is best for you?

As an interior design student at Mt SAC you’re probably aware of the many options you have once you graduate. Mt SAC’s Interior Design Program (Mt SAC ID) was designed to allow you to transfer successfully to any interior design bachelor’s program, or you may decide to venture out and start your own interior design business.

The trick to life is to remember that “You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.” –Conrad Hall. As you have grown in the Mt SAC ID program has your idea of what your future holds shifted? Over the years I have seen many students come in simply wanting to take one or two classes for fun and end up completing the program, transferring successfully to a bachelor’s program, and then going on to a second career in interior design.  Others come in dead set on doing residential projects yet end up loving commercial design. On the other side of the coin there are many Mt SAC ID students who decide not to continue with their education after graduation and have successfully transitioned into their own businesses.

So what does all this look like for you? What are your goals and aspirations? Where do you see yourself in three years? Selecting the right school for you to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree is a big step in guiding your future. In this first series of articles we will look at several 4-year universities: Woodbury, California State University, Long Beach, Otis College of Art and Design, Art Center, UCLA Extension, and VDCI, an online program for industry professionals, all of which have vastly different programs.

We will ask the important questions you may be asking yourself. What makes this university different than the others? What is it like to be in this new studio environment? Has Mt SAC ID prepared me well enough to succeed? Is a portfolio required to transfer? Who should I be contacting in the department? Is there a portfolio review once I get there?

My hope is that this will take some of the mystery out of the process and motivate you to keep growing. This information is only a start. Always visit your prospective campuses and talk to the department chairs and advisers before you make any choice on a design school. Go to open houses, tours and reviews if you can. Research each school online and talk to students that attend there. Research and investigation will be your best friend when selecting a transfer school. I found myself so energized and inspired by these visits, that for a brief moment I thought, “I want to go back to school!” Instead I hope to inspire and guide you in your decision. Cool? Let’s go!

: Otis College of Art and Design : Taking the mystery out of transferring: What interior design program is best for you?

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, pollari@otis.edu, www.pxsarchitecture.com

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Program Length: 4 yr., Mt SAC transfer student 2 ½ years based on portfolio

Website: https://www.otis.edu/architecture-landscape-interiors

 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

This is the Junior Jump: https://www.otis.edu/sites/default/files/Otis-Architecture-Landscape-Interiors_JUNIOR-JUMP-2018_17-0926.pdf

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.