Page 1








“The student should be hard working, creative, social. It helps if you think spatially. The math skills one needs can easily be learned!�

Laura Briggs is

the director of the BFA in Architectural Design. She is a founding partner of BriggsKnowles Architecture+Design, a practice recognized for its use of light, color, and ecological strategies.

What does the program entail? The program prepares you to work with spatial problems ranging from the fields of architecture to interiors and exhibition design and urban design. Our school focuses on three things: socially responsive architecture, regenerative design (highest level of sustainability) and interdisciplinary work. The BFA curriculum are bracketed sets of issues each semester to expose a plurality of practices and at the same time provide a space to think deeply about the nature of each problem type. The subjects are arranged to build on each other by adding complexity and subtlety. The curriculum is centered around Studio which is a 6 credit, 12 hour class. Seminar courses are coordinated with Studio and cover technical, historical, and theoretical information. For instance, during the first semester, students learn the tools of the trade and Studio is run in conjunction with two drawing courses. In the second semester, the subject turns outward to explore questions of construction and the studio is supported with a materials course. Here is the sequence of studio themes: studio1: SPATIAL organization/structures, color, light, inward focused program with spatial difference studio2: MATERIAL logic, order of assembly, simple proto program, public studio3: ENVIRONMENTAL and man, space as invisible forces in flux, shared programs, home studio4: THE NATURAL, biological and ecological systems, large scale conceptual framework, open drawing studio5: URBAN ECOLOGY, patch ecologies and cultural systems, infrastructural, simultaneous small and large operations, mapping and immediate visualizations studio6: OPTION. synthetic problem.


“Good luck! Learn to present what you have to the best of your abilities. Think different.”

Eric Contreras is a sophomore in Architecture. He is inspired by Le Corbusier and is planning on taking his masters after achieving his BFA.

Why did you choose the architecture program? To make my visions a reality. It keeps you busy and motivated.

What is your favorite class? Studio.

What is the hardest class you had to take? Studio and Rep and Analysis.

Are you enjoying your time here? Love it, but I completely lost my social life.

What were your fears when you were entering the program? Crits and reviews, you have to present in front of 4 to 10 architects (usually about 8).

What sort of skills do you think would be best suited for this program? Auto CAD, RHINO, drafting skills, creativity and analysis.

How much homework do you get? Too much. What are you planning on doing after Parsons? Going for Masters.

Priscilla Lee is a junior in the BFA

Architecture program. She is inspired by Mass Studies and her teachers. She hopes to take a couple of years off before taking her Masters to launch her non-profit business, White Tops, which includes painting roofs white to help with global warming.

Why did you choose the Architecture program?

Are you enjoying your time here?

For a long time, I didn’t know which major to pick, but I had always known I wanted to be some type of artist/designer. I was privileged to go to La Guardia High School and take electives like architecture, interior design, figure drawing, etc., which allowed me to narrow it down to architecture, fashion, and illustration. My mom is a fashion designer, so I wanted to try something new that would also make a living, thus, architecture.

What were your fears when you were entering the program?

What is your favorite class?

Sometimes. There are always times when work becomes very overwhelming and the lack of sleep really hits you. I feared that I wasn’t entering the right major or that I wouldn’t be able to time manage all of my work.

What sort of skills do you think would be best suited for this program?

Foundation year: Drawing Analysis was really fun. We had a You need to be able to draw a straight line, think technically, present live model pose for us every week and we looked at the human your ideas clearly, and design. Think of the user and know how to work form in an architectural/perspective approach. Architecture: I with others. think Studio would be the most fun. We had various projects like How much homework do you get? designing a bathhouse, ferry terminal, Passive house, Passive Tons! Tons. sophmore year is definitely one of the hardest. The apartment etc. work load is heavy and because of inexperience, things take longer.

What is the hardest class you had to take?

I found Representation and Analysis 2, aside from Studio, to be a rather challenging course because the goal was to understand the architectural process and intellect of a famous architect for your given building. Trying to think like another person is difficult on its own and then doing the research and finding the drawings is another process. Lastly the research must all be presented in an unique, yet relevant way. That’s quite a lot a task... not to mention the harsh professors. But not to scare anyone, it’s definitely a worthwhile journey!

What are you making now? I just finished creating a wire model of a carrot for Studio. I’m also currently working on maps and census data for the Solar Decathlon course.


“If you are smart and passionate and you work hard, then you can do it. Architecture is definitely not the major to pick just for the sake of picking a major.�


“Check out the department and the work first. Talk to some students in the program.”

Bless Yee is another junior in

Architecture. She is inspired by her

father and her teachers. She plans on working before going to Graduate School.

Why did you choose the Architecture program? I used to be in IDC combining DT and Architectural Design. I switched because I liked Architecture more. I can impact the world doing something I like, building things.

What sort of skills do you think would be best suited for this program? Every skill possible. Especially multi-tasking and having an analyzed mind.

What is your favorite class?

How much homework do you get?


Probably 100 hours a week.

What is the hardest class you had to take? ULEC (University Lecture) courses. I prefer studio classes over lectures and discussions.

How much on average do you spend a month for supplies? $100.

What were your fears when you were entering the program? Finding lots of students that would be better than me. Financial difficulties.

Kendall Tynes is a senior taking part in

the Architecture program. She is influenced by Snohetta in Copenhagen and is currently working on a town house based on human anatomy in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. She plans to work a few years in the field before pursuing Graduate School.

Why did you choose the architecture program? Diverse field of study. Encompasses many of the other majors Parsons has to offer.

What is your favorite class?

Portfolio Prep with Lisa Maione. Good reflection of past 3 years of work.

What were your fears when you were entering the program? Was I competent enough to handle the rigors of the program?

What sort of skills do you think would be best suited for this program? Multi-tasking. Attention to detail.

What is the hardest class you had to take?

How much homework do you get?

Museum Lab 2. A look at the museum as we project it in 2039.

4+ hours/ night, 12+ on weekends.

How much on average do you spend a month for supplies? Around $200

Are you enjoying your time here? Yes. My time at Parsons has been beneficial in multiple aspects of my life: education, cultural.


“Work hard – sleep later”

NOTABLE ALUMNI Michael Morris Sato Studios

William Massie American House ‘08


MEETtheDIRECTOR Laura Briggs,

Program Director of Interior Design & Architecture

In 1906, Frank Alvah Parsons established the first academic interior design program in the United States. Parsons and the program’s other early leaders understood interior design as both a critical design discipline and a potent social and economic force. More than a century later, the very concept of what constitutes an interior—and the discipline that engages with those concepts—are being explored and debated.

SOPHOMORE YEAR Do many students transfer out of the program? Very few drop or switch to architecture.

What was the most significant change from Foundation year? The expectation to learn the skills of drafting so fast! On the first day of class my professor told the class that interior design demands that you “learn the language and write poetry at the same time.” He was absolutely right. Do you find the students help one another, or are they competitive? Both. Everyone is naturally competitive, but at the same time everyone is naturally responsive to your questions. Do you like the small size of the program? What are the advantages/disadvantages? I love the size, it’s more personable, and everyone really gets to know one another. We all help each other out, so I cannot really think of any disadvantages. What is the work load like? A lot! You need to be a quick learner, never, never miss a class, and be ready for very long hours. I have no life right now!

What is or has been your favorite class so far? I love Design Studio, because you get to work with all the textures, and colors. It’s really hands-on.

Savannah Foster

How do you like having your own workspace? South Carolina It’s great, we are really lucky to have Why did you choose interior our own workspace. It’s an open design as your major? area for discussion, and if you ever I was always interested in hospitality have a question, there’s always design, and travel has played a huge someone with the answer! role in my inspiration. I actually went to the College of Charleston in South Are there tracks or Carolina, until I realized design concentrations? was really what I wanted to do, so You can choose residential or Parsons it was! commercial design. Any other concentration or interest that you have you can individually take initiative to study it further. What is the most important tip you could give an incoming sophomore? Learn time management skills.

“learn the

language and write

poetr y

at the same time�

JUNIOR YEAR Joan Kim Vancouver

Why did you choose interior design as your major? I always had an interest in design, but my mom wanted me to go to law school. I rebelled against that. What was the most significant change from Foundation year? How was the transition? The amount of work. Be ready for very little social life. How is the workload? There are lot of working days (you have Studio three days of the week) so you need to use your time wisely. You also only have a couple days to complete projects, so you can’t procrastinate! Do you find the students help one another, or are they competitive? Both, but what’s really a great learning experience is in your first semester when you’re put in sections integrated with architecture students. You bounce a lot of ideas and questions off each other, so you really learn a lot. Could you describe the faculty? They are all really interesting, and bring very different elements to the classroom. You really need to make the best use of class time, because they don’t have office hours. Can you describe the Study Abroad programs? Many people go, typically in spring of junior year. A lot of my friends have studied abroad and none of them have fallen behind in their classes. When they return they’re still on the same page.

SENIOR YEAR Senior Year / Fall Design Studio 5 Portfolio Preparation Detail: Furniture and Construction Senior Seminar Liberal Arts Electives

Senior Year / Spring Design Studio 6 SCE Electives Advanced Art History/ Design Studies Elective Liberal Arts Electives


The spring semester requires students to synthesize all they have learned in their studio sequence coursework, and focus on one design brief in which they are given a specific problem and site, requiring them to fully document, question and arrive at a written concept proposal. Presented in the first weeks of the term, this program must be approved by advisors for depth of content. Once that proposal is approved, students then set out to design the concept they put forth, developing not only the visual impression of the space, but the detailing and material use to the level of design/build documentation. The project culminates in a multi-media display format using immersive technology to demonstrate their final proposals, and is then viewed by the community in a year-end show.


Parsons Provides Inspiration for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Alternate Design Models “ Students in instructor Aki Ishida’s Interior Design Studio II developed

design proposals that alter how a clinical facility could be experienced by both patients as well as the public. Their designs were required to allow 12 patients to be treated concurrently at any given time. The goal for Parsons was to challenge the roles that interior designers can play in contemporary society by shaping the physical, emotional, and psychological experience for patients in ways that empower them.


CURRENT FACULTY What is your design background? I have a B.A in Architectural History, and a M.A in History of Art and Design from Parsons. I also took a few Interior Design Studio courses, so I really understand the stress you guys are under!

Emma Bowen,

Design Studies

What does your class entail and require? Design Studies I is a class on the history of interiors from ancient times to the present. My class is a lecture, but I make it as interactive as possible. Its image based, and each student is required to present a brief outline of the upcoming lecture, as well as find a contemporary interior that is somehow linked to the lecture. My class also has a midterm and final. Discussion and participation are the main grades in my class, so students must be comfortable with talking! I create my syllabus to be as efficient as possible, and I really believe in quality over quantity. Interior design students are so overloaded that I try to create really interactive lectures, but I do not require too much work outside of class time. Do you think the small size of the program is good or bad? Do you feel you know your students better? My class cap is 15 students, and I love the size. All the students interact really well, and there is a strong camaraderie. The only con to size may be the lack of diverse opinion, because obviously all my students are really interested in art and design before they even step in the door. What is the most important tip you would give an incoming student to the program? I know you’re all stressed, but it’s so important to do your best, yet to be healthy too. Know that nothing will ever be perfect, get as much work out without killing yourself, and keep a balance.

How did you enter the interior design field? I originally studied architecture, environmental and landscape, and interior design. I also intended to practice architecture, but I got my first job in New York with an interior designer because in New York that is mainly the focus. Here, we are redesigning, but not necessarily rebuilding.

Alan Burton,

Design Studio 3&4

Do you have a concentration? I like to incorporate conceptual ideas and concrete art into all my designs. I was taught that art was a process, so in interior design you construct environments in relation to how the body and room will interact with each other and the material. The process should go from you, to the problem, to the pallet of materials. I also like to design around social engagement; I always require my students to study a community outside their own and design for the people among it. Do you think the small size of the program is good or bad? Do you feel you know your students better? By the end of the three years of the program you know everyone. I think that’s really special. Each year is also different with how many students there are, so each semester is designed and coordinated according to the students. Do you assign a heavy workload? In the the fall of junior year we deal with problems with materials and domestic space. In the spring we concentrate on material and exhibition, where we work on models, drawing, and technique. Yes, it’s hard, but if you love design it’s fun. What is the most important tip you would give an incoming student to the program? Know how to take care of yourself. That is the most important thing.

How did you enter the interior design field? I am a trained architect from Cranbrook, but when I moved to New York there was less architecture happening and much more interior design, so I adapted. I was conscious of the difference though, so I’m always redefining that difference.

Alfred Zollinger,

Design Studio 1&2

Do you assign a heavy workload? Describe one of your assignments. For the sophomore Design Studio that I am currently teaching the culminating project is the design for a flower shop. We will devote about eight weeks at the end of the semester to design it completely. Projects leading up to that though would be one-week assignments such as finding inspiration from a flower to design a wallpaper. Do you find that your students are competitive with one another or do they help each other? The assigned workspaces foster exchange among students. It’s a different, but helpful, learning experience. How available do you make yourself to your students outside of class? I am available via email, and Studio does meet three times per week so students see me a lot. Although there are no office hours (because there are not enough offices), professors are always around the studios. What is the most important tip you would give an incoming student to the program? Time management, set your priorities, and its entirely what you make of it. Also, check the program out before you decide to overcome preconceptions.

RECENT ALUMNI Antonia Hollerbach (2006) Principal, Antonia Hollerbach Interiors

Mary Chan (2005) Principal, Studio Bartleby

Alice Kerrison (2005) Principal, Alice Kerrison Interiors

Janine Carendi MacMurray (2005) Principal, Area Interiors 2007 Top 10 Designers, Domino Magazine

LIsa Sternfeld (2005) Principal, LSID

Alejandro Barrios (2000)

Principal, Alejandro Barrios Cerreri Architecture and Interiors

Scott Saunders (1997) Principal, Scott Saunders LLC

Quotes courtesy of: Interior Design Magazine, Parsons the New School for Design,


Professor Tips

Most difficult professors: Andrea Ruggiero

Professor Andrea Ruggiero is a product designer for Andrea Ruggiero Design. He has a degree from Parsons The New School For Design and was formerly a senior designer at Razorfish and Able Design.

Kerry McNanghton

Professor Kerry McNanghton is a Sculptor and fine woodworker with work shown in California and NYC. He has been published in Woodwork magazine. Professor Kerry Mcnaghton has a degree from California College of the Arts, a BFA from Lawrence University and has received an MFA from Hunter College.

Most helpful professors: Dave Marin

Professor Dave Marin is a model builder, sculptor and printmaker. His work has been shown in New York, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. He has a BFA from Indiana University of Pensylvania and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Scott Peltzer

Professor Scott Peltzer is a furniture designer and co-founder and executive of Brooklyn Woods. He teaches modeling classes for sophomore year.


Don’t ever wear fancy clothes or any black to any of the shops! No one cares how you look down there!


Buy a respirator, lots of masks, and lotion because everything you inhale in the shop is toxic and you get a lot of splinters while handling wood!

Aakriti Kumar

Sophomore Year Was product design the right major choice for you, why or why not? Yes, it was the right choice. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else other than building. Why did you pick Product Design? It is very hands on, it requires you yo get your hands dirty and I like that. What is your favorite class? My favorite class is Prototypes. In that class we make furniture and practice furniture design which is like decorating your house with your own creations. We built a table last semester and now we are working on a chair, shelves, and a cabinet. What is the downside of Product Design? You get no sleep and you are trapped in the basement (or dungeon) for weeks while working on a big project. And also the cost, wood and other materials can cost up to hundreds of dollars. What is a really cool project or fun project you have worked on recently? We made chocolate molds for Valentines Day along with plastic doughnuts that we had to spray paint. This was all for our miniature prototype class called Models.

Justin Blanco Location: Bronx, New York Year: Sophomore Year Department: Shoe Design

Any Pointers?

“Never buy purple heart wood!� Never buy purple heart wood because it is very hard to work with and you are unable to use it on machines.

Did you choose Parsons for Product Design?

What are the best electives to take?

I kind of made my own. I go to the Fashion department

No, Fashion Design. But I still am kind of doing that. (shoe design)

to take shoe designing courses.

How is the Product Design department sophomore year?

Any suggestions for upcoming sophomores going into Product Design?

I think if you are going into Furniture design you will love it; If you are not its difficult to enjoy.

Enjoy Fondation year because sophomore year is just as difficult!


Only go into Product Design if you love working hands on! It is lots of building!


If you hated 3-D or hate making furniture and working with wood, Product design is probably not for you!

Neelima Narayanan

Junior Year Was Product Design the right major choice for you, why or why not? Yes, I always knew Product Design was what I wanted to do. I am very happy. Why did you pick Product Design? It teaches you many skills but also allows you to be creative and innovative. What is your favorite class? My favorite class changes depending on the year. Last year my favorite class was Models and Prototypes because they were both very sculptural. What is the downside of Product Design? It is very tiring with lots of manual labor! But its worth it if you love the art. What is a really cool project or fun project you have worked on recently? Well, because its Junior year I got to focus more on my independent creations and was able to take electives so all my projects are fun!

Jackie Hon Location: Hong Kong Year: Junior Year Department: Furniture (most likely)

Did you choose Parsons for Product Design? No, I Intended to major in Photography.

Are there any good internships?

There is no time to intern. But summer is the best time to because there’s no school work.

What is the average time you spend on work each night? Up to three hours a night not counting mid-terms or finals.

Any suggestions for upcoming sophomores going into Product Design?

“Don’t forget to play” Product Design can be time consuming.

Senior Year and Thesis

Senior Year / fall Thesis & Analysis Studio Materials Professional Internship Studio Elective Senior Seminar Liberal Arts Elective

Senior Year / spring Thesis & Analysis Studio Thesis Prototyping Digital Elective Dynamic Media Studio

Through the year-long senior thesis program, Product Design students and faculty expand their commitment to social entrepreneurship through project-centered alliances with nonprofit and for-profit endeavors, government agencies, and specialist consultants. For one such project, senior Eddie Shao-Hsien Chiu created Mobee, an educational toy designed to improve the motor skills of young people with cerebral palsy. Industry relationships forged through the senior thesis process create internship opportunities, support student research and prototype testing, and challenge students to become accountable for the ripple effects of their products and services. In recent years, students have partnered with Kiehl’s Since 1851, a New York– based hair- and skincare product company, German glass manufacturer Reidel, and the New York City Department of Transportation. Research and Development

ALUMNI A few zzznew and old Alumni and where they are at now.

ANDREA RUGGIERO Teaches at Parsons along with working on his own designs


Freshly graduated along with winning Product Design Thesis Prize


Recently graduated and now works for Go Baby

Product Design Faculty Full-time Faculty Mark Bechtel Robert Kirkbride David Marin Kerry McNaughton Seth Nagelberg Anna Rabinowicz Michael Verbos Anthony Whitfield, Associate Dean

This book was created in Laboratory, one of the four studio classes offered in the Foundation Program at Parsons The New School for Design. The project, called Seeing the Future, tasks groups of freshmen with researching the student experience within the schools and programs at Parsons. This book is based on their research, interviews, site visits and observations.

School of Constructed Environments  
School of Constructed Environments  

This book was created in Laboratory, one of the four studio classes offered in the Foundation Program at Parsons The New School for Design....