Chair’s Statement

Dear Alumni and Professional Associates,

As Qatar continues to nurture distinguished educative and pedagogic institutions in its state of the art facilities that include, but are not limited to, Hamad Bin Khalifa University HBKU, our interior design program finds a driving force in this effervescent intellectual environment that aspires to excellence. This is achieved through continuous implementation of processes and assessments of outcomes that identify, recognize, and reward excellence.

Our vision statement is our road map to what we aspire to become by 2022. We are striving “to be distinguished for quality education that promotes diversity, innovation, sustainability, and collaboration, that caters for the needs of a ‘glocal’ society.” This embodies a guidance for our initiatives; inspires our endeavors; and provides for a benchmark to track our progress toward excellence.

In compliance with this vision, the interior design program devised a program expectation that engages faculty and students into 1) curriculum innovation, 2) collaborative initiatives, 3) design competitions, 4) travel study, and 5) alignment with emerging design trends; i.e., building information modeling, three-dimensional printing (3D printing), virtual reality, and evidence-based design.

Our curriculum innovation was synthesized in a unique pedagogic experience that distanced the curriculum from the siloed teaching (courses taught independently) to a meta-studio (collaboration). This initiative brought together three courses whereby the theoretical precepts learned in one course inform the studio projects, hence generating a pragmatic and conducive learning environment.

Our collaborative initiatives paved the way for students to partner with Qatar Museums and the Swedish Embassy, undertaking real-world schematic projects that involved dealing with site conditions, clients, and programmatic data; a rewarding partnership that enlightened students on real-life project complexities.

Our outreach and engagement activities led to interventions such as partnering with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to showcase our students’ work and our students also manned their annual PopUp Shops. This contributed toward the establishment of Qatar Shopping Festival. Similarly, our outreach activities took us to the Humanitarian Design Conference in Greece, whereby Interior Design (IDES) faculty and alumni intervened to design shelters for Syrian refugees.  

Our program paved the way for design competitions that engaged our students at regional and international levels. IDES junior students were the recipients of the third place award of the International Interior Design Association student competition. Likewise, the IDES program was engaged into the design of Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference stage and the 2017 Qatar Pavilion for the 2017 Art Expo that was held in Astana, in Kazakhstan. Both experiences were rewarding as the winners of the stage design were involved in the production phase, and the winners of the Qatar Pavilion competition benefited from an internship at the offices of Avantgarde, Berlin.

Our accomplishments culminated in securing a competitive travel grant that took distinguished interior design students from the sophomore, junior, and senior levels to Prague and Berlin. The students benefited not only from attending two major conferences respectively, the International Association for Lighting Designers, and the World Architecture Forum, but also benefited from study tours that involved classical, medieval, renaissance, modern, and postmodern styles. These travel study programs helped students gain an international perspective of art and design, and above all, gave them the ability to think creatively and see more than one solution to any specific design problem.

Cherif Amor, PhD, EDRA, IDEC, &IIDA
Chair and Professor
Chair, Environmental Design Research Association, ID Network
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar
PO Box 8095, Doha, Qatar
mcamor@vcu.edu | M +974 3013 3453 | P +974 4402 0588