Interior Design Students Explore Post COVID-19 Workplaces


Hochung Kim, assistant professor in the School of Interior Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has created a timely opportunity for students to reinvent the workplace. The Fall 2020 studio investigated the definition of workplaces, how they have changed over time, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way we work.

Assistant Professor Hochung Kim

In the studio, students focused on what it means to be in a workplace during the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as what workplaces might look like in the future. Kim challenged her students to think about how workplaces will change and shape the future based on restrictions, social awareness, health conditions, new opportunities and other factors.

Students researched key events that have changed workplaces throughout history, developed a series of models, and learned to use software to produce various architectural forms and formalize them in a singular design language.

“There are so many different elements that are part of the workplace and so many aspects of design that most people don’t see,” said Jacob Abdu, a junior from Knoxville. “Something that was integral to my research was understanding the impact of power structures in the workplace and the ways that we as designers can work to actively change the way we perceive power and position at work. “

The use of new software by students is linked to Kim’s current research, which examines the results of integrating the latest technologies for several work environments. The research is funded in part by the College of Architecture and Design Faculty Development Award.


Amanda Johnson (865-974-6401, [email protected])

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