We’re profiling the Savannah College of Art and Design‘s Interior Design Department first because it’s the obvious choice. Why? The school is PLiNTH & CHiNTZ Founder / Dictator Laura McDonald’s alma mater. (At this point, what Laura wants, Laura gets, so on with our story.) As you might guess, the Savannah College of Art and Design is located in the strikingly historic Southern town of Savannah, Georgia. It’s a mysterious, magical place full of Spanish-moss-laden old-as-dirt trees, uniquely eccentric residents and an abundance of plinths and chintz. What a coincidence.
In the summer, Savannah can be hotter than Hades and so humid you think you won’t breathe in another breath, so don’t land here if you’re uncomfortable with perspiration. To get a good feel for the place, watch the movie Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil or, better yet, just read The Book. (“The Book” is capitalized because, in Savannah, everyone knows what book you are referring to when you simply say “The Book”.) Author John Berendt quite effectively captures the charming peculiarities of this jewel of a town. Those that haven’t had the privilege to visit this little sister to New Orleans (we’re gonna get mail over this comment) may think that the tempo of both The Book and the movie is too slow and choppy, but that is vintage Savannah… it saunters along at its own pace, and usually with a cocktail in one hand.
When you first visit, your initial impression may be that of the town as an extra-large stage set. Actually, you wouldn’t be that far off. Besides the aforementioned version of The Book, a reel of other movies have been filmed here: Forrest Gump, Something To Talk About (with state native Julia Roberts), and Now and Then to name a few. When Laura was still in school there, celebrity spotting was a sport. In class on Monday mornings, it wasn’t uncommon for students working as waitstaff and retail employees to compare weekend sightings. Speaking of school, let’s get to the business at hand…
The Savannah College of Art and Design, affectionately referred to as SCAD (pronounced “skad”), was founded in 1978, and its first classroom and administrative offices were located in the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory. The 1892 Romanesque Revival structure, now functioning under the name Poetter Hall, currently houses the Admission Department, Welcome Center and the May Poetter Gallery, as well as Graphic Design classes.
Over the past 25 years, this private college has continued to pump money and life into the town by purchasing, renovating and utilizing over 50 historic buildings, several of them nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. These buildings are scattered all over Savannah’s historic district, so there is no centralized campus per se. Not to panic! SCAD has blanketed the area with a bus system that not only provides free rides to and from class during school hours, but it also runs ‘round midnight for all those caffeine-infused late night projects. If you really want to get a feel for the “campus” without committing to a road trip, first check out the interactive map, and then move on to the online tour.
SCAD definitely knows how to get your attention and draw you in. How do we know” Just look at the stats. The school has attracted a student body of 6000+ from every state in the Union plus 80+ countries. With up to 10% of enrollment being of international flavor, it’s not uncommon to hear your fellow classmates speaking anything from French to Chinese to Spanish and back again. Even though the school is packed with talent, SCAD reports an average class size of only 17. And FYI: the school operates on a Quarter system, rather than a Semester system. Always good to know when planning those well-needed vacations.
This school is a creative haven. The advantage” If you discover that Interior Design is not for you after all, you might find inspiration in Fibers, Painting or Illustration, and you won’t have far to go. Better yet, supplement your Interior Design education by dabbling in a Fashion or Art History class or two. Just check out all the fields SCAD has to offer:
The Interior Design Department shares quarters with the Architecture Department in Eichberg Hall. This three-story, 48,658 sf Romanesque red brick structure was originally built in 1887, and the terra cotta ornamentation remains to this day. Constructed as part of the Central of Georgia Railroad complex, the renovated space features generous ceiling heights and ample sunlight pleasantly colored by stained glass panels, features which make the open plan studios spaces comfortable and functional.
The Interior Design Department offers several options of study for students:
- Minor (40 hours)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (180 hours)
- Master of Arts (45 hours and final project)
- Master of Fine Arts (90 hours and Thesis)
Courses range from the introductory [Interior Graphics, History of Interior Design I, Interior Materials I] to the advanced / specific [Human Responses to the Built Environment, Interior Design Studio IV] to the career focused [Portfolio Preparation]. Be sure to check out the students’ gallery to see the fruit of their studies.
Learning doesn’t start and stop in the classroom, however. The Faculty takes advantage of the city itself, utilizing the plethora of art, architectural styles and interior details as examples of the field’s evolution. Professors also take advantage of what the region has to offer, branching out of the city to field trip it to Charleston’s own dense historic district as well as Atlanta’s ritzy design showrooms and respected design firms.
So have we peaked your interest in SCAD or the city of Savannah” If you decide to get on the road and check it out for yourself, then do a little more research, email the school, and get some good information on the city itself by visiting www.savannahgeorgia.com. We love the internet!
Poetter Hall: Poetter Hall – SCAD’s first building.
Ex Libris: Ex Libris Bookstore – The place to grab a book, a t-shirt or refreshing beverage.
Café SCAD: Café SCAD – Fine dining for residents of Dyson, Turner and Weston residence houses.
Eichberg Hall: Eichberg Hall – Where the Interior Design and Architecture Departments are roomies.
Note: Photos appearing in this article are courtesy of SCAD’s website.
Want your school’s interior design program to be featured” Then let us know, but be sure to forward this site on to Faculty as well. Tell them to get some school spirit and to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put LEARN BABY LEARN in the subject line. Rah rah ree, kick ‘em in the knee! Rah rah rass, kick ‘em in the other knee! (That’s a little crude cheer humor for you, but what else can you expect from PLiNTH & CHiNTZ”)