Research in Interior Architecture: Interdisciplinary Viewpoints and Research Approaches

  • Ann Petermans
  • Jan Vanrie
  • Kris Pint
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


Until relatively recently, reflecting on interior environments was not regarded as a subject in its own right, but rather as an adjunct to architecture or an extension of decoration. During the last decades however, activities relating to interior architecture have become more visible, and have also become relevant topics for academic research. As the practice of designing interiors requires input from diverse areas of interest, ranging from humanities, social sciences to applied sciences, research in interior architecture and the construction of its body of theory should reflect this interdisciplinary character. However, the epistemological foundations of these various components tend to differ quite strongly and so do various research approaches within the discipline itself. As a consequence hereof, in this chapter we first discuss the ‘identity’ of the discipline of interior architecture whereby an explicit focus on exploring the human perspective is proposed. Phenomenology is discussed as a very valuable approach to the analysis and understanding of interior environments.

Next, we elaborate about two contrasting but complementary approaches for doing research in interior architecture: Design for Human Flourishing, and an arts-oriented approach towards the study of interiors. Both approaches differ in various aspects, but share the same core: the centrality of human experiences.

By comparing both approaches in terms of the underlying philosophical assumptions and methodological implementations, we illustrate the similarities and differences but also the added value that they can have to the further development of a more unified and proper body of theory for interior architecture.


Interior architecture Phenomenology Human experiences discipline’s identity Diversity of research approaches 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture and ArtsHasselt University (Belgium)HasseltBelgium

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