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K-State Today

March 25, 2014

Interior architecture & product design professor wins top honor

Submitted by Thom Jackson


Kendra Ordia, assistant professor of interior architecture & product design in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, won top honors at the 2014 annual conference of the Interior Design Educators Council, or IDEC.

The scholarly conference provides a diverse series of speakers and presentation topics addressing the wide array of issues faced by design educators. Topics included classroom flipping methodologies to late 19th-century beaux arts state capitol building design. It also provides a venue for junior faculty and seasoned educators to interact and share knowledge and advice. And it encourages graduate students to gain a sense of educational trends and learn about the latest teaching tools for inside and outside the classroom.

Ordia, with co-creators Igor Siddiqui and Tamie Glass, both of the University of Texas, Austin, presented "Mas Moss: A Living Curtain" and the initial abstract as well as the presentation were judged. Their work won the 2014 IDEC Creative Scholarship Award for Best in Category: Design as Idea.

"This creative scholarship is an excellent example of the fruitful nature of collaboration of seemingly dissimilar fields such as plant science and design, and illustrates that technical solutions can also be beautiful solutions," said Katherine Ankerson, professor and head of the department of interior architecture & product design. "I am pleased that the judges recognized the quality of the investigation and design in this project with the high award."

Ordia said the inspiration for the project came from her master's thesis and credits the collaboration with her University of Texas colleagues for its success.

The project was a finalist in the Center for American Art and Design CURTAINS competition, in the top 20 of 160 submissions. "The only criteria for the design of the project was that it had to be a curtain. It could be any size or material and ideally installed at the University of Texas," she said.

Although a full-scale model hasn't been made yet, there are small prototypes. The living portion of the curtain is created out of a native plant species that grows naturally, without soil and little water, on trees and other host material from the Southern U.S. to parts of South America. It is being introduced to the interior environment for the potential of the plant material to filter the air and improve indoor air.

Through her research on this project, Ordia hopes to teach her students about the importance of interdisciplinary research and looking beyond the traditional boundaries of interior design for inspiration and innovation. She plans to teach a class in 2016 about sustainable design.