The Past: History as Context for Design
Design schools across the board continue to place emphasis on history to give students a much broader
and more in-depth context for their designs, which involves expanding their view of history altogether.
It’s so important, in fact, that teaching history isn’t an elective—it’s a prerequisite.
“It’s critical,” Evans Warren suggests. “We’re a CITA [Commission on International and Trans-Regional
Accreditation]-accredited program, and, as a part of that, we integrate design history and design theory.
We teach our students to look at precedents: What are previous projects, whether they’re related to
the project you’re looking at or not, that could inform your design?” She says that, as students learn
from the past, it informs the future—a central tenet of the growing evidence-based design model.
1. Cotter Christian,
The New School, Parsons
in New York.
(Image: Rod Goodman)
2. Ellen Fisher, New York
School of Interior Design
(N YSID). (Image: Chris Spinelli)
3. Brynell D’Mello,
Interior Design Continuing
Education Council (IDCEC)
4. Helen Evans Warren,
Mount Royal University
in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.