Design students receive health care environment award

Ashley Green

The College of Design offers an interdisciplinary health, healing and wellness studio that focuses on health care design, a type of design that is rapidly advancing.

Medicine is ever-changing and advancing, with some patients saying the experience is more home-like than ever.

The challenge of the studio is to stay up to date on the current health care trends. To do this, the studio focuses on different projects each semester. With these projects, the students work with real firms to connect with potential clients and projects.

The studio is co-taught from both architecture and interior design perspectives. Led by Cameron Campbell, associate professor of architecture, and Jihyun Song, associate professor of interior design. The studio is full of different kinds of collaboration.

Like Song, many design students come from an international background. She and Campbell teamed up students in diverse groups and are an example of a diverse group themselves.

“We teach together, but we have different backgrounds,” Song said. “I am an interior designer, and [Campbell] is an architect. I am Asian, and he is American. I am female, and he is male.”

This approach challenges the instructors as well as the students, but toward the end of the semester communication barriers are no longer an issue.

Each project in the studio prepared students to complete the final project, which is in collaboration with the Iowa City office of Heery International, an international architectural firm.

Heery International was in the process of building towers for the children’s hospital at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The firm invited the studio to Iowa City to better understand the project.

During a five to six week time span, groups within the studio designed towers of their own with requirements set up by Heery International.

“The tower could either be symmetrical or asymmetrical or totally opposite,” Song said of their designs.

After the designs were completed, one group was encouraged to enter its plans into the student category of the 2015 Healthcare Environment awards, which is run by Contract Magazine and the Center for Health Design.

“Their team was the most successful,” Song said. “It out-shined the whole studio.”

The team consisted of four students: interior design graduate student Yongyeon Cho, graduate assistant in interior design; Yifan Luo and Casey Tiedman, both fifth-year architecture students; and Haoyu Fang, an exchange student from Southeast University in Nanjing, China.

Entering the contest was an afterthought. 

“We didn’t think about the award,” Tiedman said. “We were really excited about our project, and we wanted to see it to completion, and then we were like, ‘Oh yeah, we could totally enter this.'”

Like its professors, the group is composed of a variety of backgrounds and nationalities.

“We all kind of had our strongpoints that we learned from each other on,” Tiedman said. “It was cool to learn from each other along the way.”

The group’s design was featured in the October issue of Contract Magazine and will be displayed Nov. 14-17 in Washington D.C. as part of the Healthcare Design Expo and Conference.