The Interior Architecture and Design graduating class of 2023 hosted their senior showcase with a theme of resilience throughout the spaces in the Nancy Richardson Design Center on May 12 hanging research posters in classrooms and hallways. The cohort of students was greatly affected by the pandemic in their early years at Colorado State University but have persevered through remote learning and a very demanding area of study to make it to graduation.
The event not only showcases the incredible work of the graduating class but also serves as an avenue for them to expand connections with the industry. As a part of the planning process, students reach out to the industry connections they’ve met during their time in the program to sponsor the event.
This year’s event was generously sponsored by MillerKnoll, a brand collective unified by the belief that design can change the world, and EUA (Eppstein Uhen Architects), a long-established planning and interior design firm committed to increasing potential through the built environment. The event would not have been possible without the generous support from these sponsors.
Keynote speaker Christine (“Teen”) Nicolaysen (’16)
The department invited Christine “Teen” Nicolaysen, interior designer and strategist at Gensler, to serve as the keynote speaker. Nicolaysen graduated with a degree in Interior Architecture and Design from CSU in 2016 and is a leader in the field of sustainability and resilience in interior design, as well as the future of work. She plays a key role in administering Gensler’s Workplace Performance Index survey, which helps clients understand how their space can impact performance.
Nicolaysen reflected on her experiences and lessons from her work at Gensler, a global design and architecture firm. She specifically shared wisdom regarding the importance of prioritizing time as a professional, finding joy and purpose in work, and what the graduates might expect in the transition from a CSU student to a professional.
The interior architecture and design faculty reviewed the capstone projects and portfolios and selected the following students to receive awards:
Jaehwan (David) Baek – Outstanding Senior Capstone
Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Jaehwan (David) Baek graduated from Colorado State University in Fall 2022 from the Interior and Architecture and Design program and now works for a design firm in California. He served in the Korean army, which was a precious experience in his life.
During his junior and senior years, Baek worked as an undergraduate research trainee at the Spatial Perception and Cognitive Experience (SPACE) Laboratory. He assisted with the digital simulation of building spaces for multiple projects.
Baek’s senior capstone project is titled the Seoul Refugee Support Center. The center is for North Korean refugees who are discriminated against and suffering in South Korean society. The number of North Korean refugees fleeing North Korea is increasing yearly in South Korea. However, there are still insufficient facilities for them to adapt or help in South Korean society, and this project addresses that need. His design was inspired by the aesthetic principles in the shared culture and tradition between South Korea and North Korea, including the human-environment connection and the symbolic colors.
Jayla Cantu – Senior Capstone Honoree
Originally from Colorado, Jayla Cantu came to CSU as a first-generation student to pursue her passion for interior architecture and design. Cantu also pursued a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. She hopes to make a positive impact on the built environment while also contributing to the future of sustainable design.
Cantu’s senior capstone project is titled the Denver Rock Drill Transportation Center. Serving as a multi-use building, The Denver Rock Drill Transportation Center, located in the River North District, aims to encourage users to travel more sustainably, while also being able to form connections with other users in the space. Design inspiration was drawn from the surrounding neighborhood, including existing building materials found on and around the site.
Susan Hsin – Senior Capstone Honoree
Passionate about people, place-based sustainability, and user-centered design, Susan Hsin sees the built environment as a tool to empower individuals within communities to live their best lives. Her dedication to growing her interdisciplinary skills is reflected in her involvement with the Institute for the Built Environment, her leadership role in International Interior Design Association, and outdoor education.
Hsin was also elected by her classmates to serve as one of the class leaders, along with Zoe Bullock. Hsin played an instrumental role in planning the event and worked closely with faculty, staff, volunteers, and fellow classmates to ensure its success.
Hsin’s senior capstone project is a proposed redesign of the Carbon Public Transit Center in Seattle. By adopting a service-oriented approach, Carbon Public Transit Center transforms an underutilized resource into a functionally supportive, energetic, and beautiful lifestyle hub that will afford users access to greater health, happiness, and well-being potential. “This is public transportation elevated; this in itself is the destination,” Hsin stated on her project poster.
Virtual senior show
In addition to the capstone project event at the Nancy Richardson Design Center, all student project posters and profiles are included in the 2022-2023 Interior Architecture and Design Virtual Show.
The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.