Interior Architecture

Mariann Drell. Visual from Master's degree work

We teach interior architecture on Bachelor as well as Master level, both curriculums in Estonian, but of course we welcome visiting students via the Erasmus Programme. At the moment, our international MA programme in English does not accept applications. 

Immediate space

Interior architecture works  with the space that most directly surrounds a person. Here, students will learn how to create inspiring, flexible, economical and contemporary spaces for people at any stage of their life, from childhood to old age.

The best space is built from the inside out

A good space is born from a sharp sense of context, a thorough knowledge of the material and strong technical skills, but also knowledge in the areas that support the creation of space – anthropology, spatial psychology, spatial semiotics. Interior architects are sensitive and attentive to both cultural and spatial contexts, as the best space is born from the inside out, stemming from the interior architect’s knowledge and technical skills as much as their ability to ask the right questions and find inspiration from what exists.

Community engagement projects

Interior architecture students are already working on projects that offer inspiring spatial solutions to different groups in society and connect communities. Graduates include creators of outstanding interiors, but also creators of space that create personal environments by combining architecture, design and technology.

Constantly changing field

The field of interior architecture is always reinventing itself, as the environment and people’s needs are constantly changing. Some of the trends influencing the spatial needs of people are

  • global urbanisation;
  • jobs and work becoming more mobile;
  • people’s lives becoming longer (but also in many cases more lonely);
  • smarter environments on both big and small scale;
  • climate and health related crises.

These and many other major trends are affecting the work of tomorrow’s interior architects, which is why the Department of Interior Architecture at EKA teaches students to design rooms that meet people’s rapidly changing needs, whether its offices, homes or public spaces – but rather than working on a specific type of room, we solve problems for users in different spaces.

Interior architecture Bachelor’s programme

Completion of the BA curriculum in interior architecture takes 3 years, the study is full-time and takes place largely in Estonian, but also in English under the guidance of foreign tutors. The best bachelor’s degree portfolios and exhibition projects have born from a local context, inspired by the Estonian spatial traditions and a true sense of the local world of thought. Student projects born here might have their roots in Estonia, but they tend to spark interest much more widely – it is their locality which makes them engaging. Students are taught by a mix of Estonian interior architects, architects, designers and international tutors from design schools around the world. Within the framework of study projects, students gain experience from other disciplines taught at EKA, which is especially important, because interior architecture is almost always teamwork.

Interior architecture Master’s programme

The master’s degree in interior architecture is attractive in several ways: on the one hand, it can be seen as an integrated extension to bachelor’s degree studies, and on the other hand, it can be a response to a desire to return to the academy whilst still maintaining a professional career. The latter can be seen as a trend among master students.

The master’s theses of the department are increasingly looking for solutions to real problems; over the last three to four years, it has become clear that the work has become more substantive and exploratory. The master’s thesis has developed into a hybrid of space-related designs, requiring a systematic and at the same time creative approach from the author.

The master’s degree in interior architecture is accompanied by an open and interdisciplinary studio culture. The aim continues to be to formulate the identity of spatial creation. Master’s projects show the extent to which the meaning of (indoor) space has expanded and become more multi-layered today: it deals with the object-item, the functions of space, typologies, as well as indoor and public space. An interesting side effect is the awareness of the border between indoor and outdoor space and, at the same time, its conscious avoidance. Acting in border areas and searching for new opportunities is becoming the norm – this is confirmed by the fact that all the topics, research questions and project solutions developed from the Master’s studio are united by the interest in expanding the boundaries of the interior design profession.

Currently, our master’s studies take place in two directions on a studio basis. The studios are distinguished by the themes of the projects and master’s theses undertaken during the year and the research methodology chosen, reflecting the personal interests and goals of the students and the creative and research background of the supervisors. Within the studios, space and the issues arising from the creation of space are raised, formulated and analysed.

At the heart of the spatial interventions proposed in the master ‘s projects is a person, ie a user – an individual or a social group with their own needs, values ​​and goals. The nature, scope and justification of spatial interventions are confirmed through research carried out in the course of the work, the main goal being the maximum harmonisation of theory and practice.

The imaginary axis of the division into studios is the context, which is denoted by the word pair environment / object. In relation to space and spatial problems, such a division can be conditionally described as the direction of movement defined by the choice of the starting point – on the one hand in the context of the environment (outside) and on the other hand in the context of the object (inside).

As always, the final content of the studios is the result of a mutual bounce of opinions and ideas between students, faculty and their diverse opinions. The studio is on the one hand a round table and a space for experimentation, but as successful master’s projects are at stake, it is also a place to share experience, advice and trust.

More info:

Interior Architecture Department
interior@artun.ee

News and events

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Master studio. From sacred space to generous space

Master students in interior architecture have just completed a 10-day master’s studio under the direction of interior designer Tom Callebaut (KU Leuven, Belgium), with co-tutoring by prof Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla. In preparation, students analyzed examples and issues of a traditional sacred space, the creation of a new sacred space and the intertwining of a sacred and profane space, ...
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Spatial design by EKA interior architecture students at Estonian National Museum exhibition

The students of the 2nd year of the bachelor’s study in interior architecture focussed on creating inclusive exhibition spaces, tutored by architect Johanna Jõekalda. The task of the students was to design an exhibition space based on what they had learned, which would take into account visitors with different special needs to the maximum.  During the course, students learned to understand ...
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Spatial design ideas by EKA interior architecture students at Estonian National Museum exhibition

TO THE EXHIBITION! The students of the 2nd year of the bachelor's study in interior architecture focussed on creating inclusive exhibition spaces, tutored by architect Johanna Jõekalda. The task of the students was to design an exhibition space based on what they had learned, which would take into account visitors with different special needs to the maximum.    During the course, students ...
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SMALL OBJECTS WORKSHOP: ENTHUSIASTIC STRUCTURES

Our first-year BA students just finished a two-week small objects workshop tutored by Pavle Stamenović (AFUB, Serbia). Titled Enthusiastic Structures, you might have seen the resulting student works/experiments in material and space, at the open area on the 3rd floor at EKA. But in case you missed it, here’s the assessment phase, as captured by Aurelia Minev.   The workshop was split into ...
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2021 BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S THESES

MASTER’S THESES Kirke Kalamats – Amplifying social fabric on the example of a guides’ campsite A sign of a polarized society is the opposition of people to each other, one of the causes and aggravators of which is the design of social media. Distant human relationships lead to conflicts in the physical world. Bringing society together requires shared experiences, a sense of identification and ...
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Open until 5th June: Exhibition A Tale of Persistence: Expanding on Decline in Ida-Virumaa

In Ida-Virumaa, the politics of the climate neutral futures, the deprived status quo and the infrastructures inherited from the past intensively meet, showing multiple endings but also some possible new beginnings. The landscapes of Ida-Viru, where distinguishing between the man-made and the natural has become increasingly difficult, conceal something we might describe with the word ‘hope’. ...
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Exhibition LibrarySPACE

What should the modern library space offer its user, the 3rd year students of the EAA bachelor’s study of interior architecture ask, and offer a number of spatial concepts at the exhibition opened at the National Library until 31 August. The student projects presented at the exhibition have been created within studio “Public Space”, which was supervised by Jan Skolimowski and Hanna ...
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Exhibition A Tale of Persistence: Expanding on Decline in Ida-Virumaa

The master students from the Interior Architecture and Urbanism Departments of the Estonian Academy of Arts present their projects on Ida-Virumaa’s living spaces at the White Hall of Kohtla-Järve Oil Shale Museum. The landscapes of Ida-Viru, where distinguishing between the man-made and the natural has become increasingly difficult, conceal hope. They speak of a future different from the one ...