Interior Architecture and Design students help design space to house families during the winter

Catholic Charities’ Fort Collins Rescue Mission staff contacted the Colorado State University Department of Design and Merchandising’s Interior Architecture and Design program with the hope of expanding overnight emergency shelter to more families in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, the Mission does not have additional rooms to house families and had to find a way to capitalize on the current space and still serve the needs of everyone throughout the day.

Students volunteer their skills

Interior Architecture and Design students volunteered to help with brainstorming design solutions. The event was organized by student groups: the International Interior Design Association, American Society of Interior Designers, and the Student Hospitality Network. Virginia Witte, a senior in the Interior Architecture and Design program, spearheaded the organization of this event. Together, the organizations hosted a design charrette on Nov. 10, and Interior Architecture and Design program faculty Stephanie Clemons and Laura Malinin, as well as industry professional Marcia Brake of the International Interior Design Association, offered their time to judge the submissions.

Before they started working, students were able to visit the the Rescue Mission to evaluate the space and the client’s needs. For the charrette, students helped develop an idea to turn the current Day Room into a space that comfortably holds at least four additional families, but privacy was a prevailing concern and the room still has to be available for daytime shelter. The current set-up of the room is not functional for nighttime use, so this space must be completely transitional.

Volunteers were made aware of the Rescue Mission’s $2,000 budget and asked to keep in mind that the space will cater to a variety of individuals and different size families. This means the space needed to allow for privacy, hygiene, and modular comfortable sleeping areas.

The Rescue Mission is going to use the students’ ideas in developing their final plan for the space.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.