RHS graduate places second in national interior design contest

A Redmond High School (RHS) graduate and her teammate from Washington State University (WSU) Spokane have placed second in the nation in the 2010 Interior Design Educators Council Student Design Competition.

Hannah Ohrt (above)

A Redmond High School (RHS) graduate and her teammate from Washington State University (WSU) Spokane have placed second in the nation in the 2010 Interior Design Educators Council Student Design Competition.

Hannah Ohrt, RHS class of 2007 and Regina Rollis, who recently transferred to WSU Spokane from Spokane Falls Community College, advanced from regional competition to the national “final 15” and ultimately took second place. For their entry, they designed a Learning Commons space in a library at a small university.

“This is the part of the library where students, faculty and community members can come and utilize any of the computers and work spaces provided, either with a group or individually,” Ohrt explained. “In our design, we provided a small Internet cafe, a casual lounge, group study spaces, individual study spaces, multiple computer stations, a multimedia/conference room and a printing room with a help desk outside of it.”

Among judging criteria for the competition, Ohrt and Rollis had to complete a concept study and research paper.

“Regina and I researched the Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt, which became our main inspiration,” said Ohrt.

Then they were judged on how well they applied that concept to their own design.

“For example, there are columns in our space that were modern representations of the columns found in ancient Egypt,” Ohrt noted.

They also were judged on the spacial layout of the design, such as adequate space for traffic flow and accessibility for patrons with disabilities, as well as materials chosen for the space, such as flooring, furniture, wall colors and so on.

“A large part of this is making sure the materials are environmentally responsible and sustainable, which is a large concern in today’s design industry,” Ohrt stated. “Lastly, the overall presentation is looked at, as far as quality of perspectives, renderings and presentation board layout.”

Ohrt and her teammate had only two weeks to complete the project — which was a requirement for anyone entering the competition.

“Not only were we crunched for time,” said Ohrt, “but Regina and I are probably two of the most detail-oriented students in our class, which made the time constraint an even bigger challenge and made for some late nights working on the project. However, I think it is because of our perfectionist qualities that we did so well in the competition. We wanted to make sure that it was a project we were proud of, before entering it.”

Ohrt said she has always enjoyed drawing and painting and always aspired to doing creative work. Her senior project at RHS helped her to better define her career interest.

“I did my senior culminating project on the redesign of a basement recreational room with the help of my friend and mentor, Kathy Doyle,” said Ohrt.

“Being able to completely transform a space and make it more appealing and livable than it was before, made me realize that interior design was definitely a field I wanted to pursue.”

She said she also took every possible art class at RHS and then signed up for a NEVAC (North East Vocational Area Cooperative) interior design class that was offered at Juanita High School.

“But the experience at Redmond High School that impacted my decision the most was my senior project and being able to work with my mentor Kathy Doyle, a knowledgeable interior designer,

and get a feel for the entire process of a project and how rewarding it is to see the final result,” Ohrt added.

She plans to graduate from WSU with a bachelor’s degree in interior design in spring of 2011 and will apply for a one-year graduate program in interior design, also at WSU Spokane.

“This graduate program is meant to make us narrow in on a specific part of interior design that we want to focus on, and unfortunately, I haven’t decided what that is for me, yet,” Ohrt admitted. “I’m not entirely sure if I want to do the graduate program, all I know is that I will apply for it and keep my options open. After school is over, I hope to be hired by an architecture or interior design firm that I fit in well with, and eventually work up to producing my own designs in actual spaces.”

For more information about the Interior Design Educators Council Student Design Competition, visit www.idec.org and click on competitions and awards, then student design competition.

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