Seniors Cat McDiarmid and Laney Branch present their research for their Interior Design Senior Capstone Projects on November 23, 2019 at the 15th Annual State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS) hosted by Duke University. The SNCURCS supports colleges, universities and community colleges in North Carolina host a symposia each year to showcase NC undergraduate student research and creative work. SNCURCS provides undergraduate scholars in all fields a forum to share the results of their work through posters, presentations, performances, and works of art. McDiarmid and Branch have been working on individual research and programming to inform their spring capstone project.
Cat McDiarmid, Designing for Crisis - A New Approach to Appropriate Interior Design Solutions for Climate Migrants:
Climate change is creating a refugee crisis that is expected to grow rapidly. Populations are being displaced due to changing climates, disappearing land, and extreme temperature and weather conditions. There is an urgent necessity to determine architectural and design solutions that specifically and appropriately address essential needs accompanying this growing concern. Current housing “fixes” are often temporary solutions to a long-term problem, failing to provide for other needs that accompany displacement including lack of healthcare, education, jobs, and safety. Design solutions must provide more than just a structural home for displaced persons. They must provide for the other needs that accompany this unplanned and often unwanted migration, while addressing the growing need for resiliency and strategic city-planning and also simultaneously being aware of and empathetic towards the populations impacted.
As predicted numbers for displaced persons continue to rise, so too does the threat created by lack of adequate design solutions. The built environment contributes significantly to energy usage and emissions not only nationally but also globally. If design solutions are not strategic, negative impacts of climate migration will grow in number and intensity, increasing the number of displaced persons.
This project addresses the challenges currently facing the Isle de Jean Charles tribes in coastal Louisiana. The interior architectural solution will provide a new home for these environmental migrants that also gives access to the basic needs that the climate crisis has taken away from them, all while creating a design precedent that can be implemented in various locations globally.
Laney Branch, Creating interiors to promote physical and mental health and readiness for civilian life for active duty and veteran servicewomen of the U.S. military:
Female servicewomen and female veterans often face preventable challenges during and after serving for the United States Armed Forces. These challenges make transitioning into civilian life difficult and can hinder overall wellbeing if not addressed appropriately. By addressing and better understanding mental health and vocational difficulties faced by these women, we can help support servicewomen both during and after their time of duty. Some of these difficulties include finding and immersion in community, healing from PTSD symptoms (involving combat or sexual trauma), as well as finding appropriate employment or educational opportunities once military service term has ended. By creating a Mental Health and Vocational Rehabilitation clinic exclusively for women of the military, for both current and former servicewomen, this population can receive dignity in treatment and proper support transitioning into civilian life. Understanding how a variety of interior design elements such as, programming needs, lighting, acoustics, spatial configuration and functionality, can improve mental health and vocational rehabilitation efforts. By improving these rehabilitation efforts, long-term effectiveness of these treatments can provide the dignity in healing necessary for this demographic. A review of the literature regarding current treatments in the mental health and vocational rehabilitation industries for soldiers and veterans is necessary to understand how to optimize design decisions for rehabilitation centers tailored to female servicewoman and female veteran’s needs.