Interior Architecture is the design of a space which has been created by structural boundaries and the human interaction within these boundaries. It can also be the initial design and plan for use, then later redesign to accommodate a changed purpose, or a significantly revised design for adaptive reuse of the building shell.
The latter is often part of sustainable architecture practices, conserving resources through “recycling” a structure by adaptive redesign. Generally referred to as the spatial art of environmental design, form and practice, interior architecture is the process through which the interiors of buildings are designed, concerned with all aspects of the human uses of structural spaces. Put simply, Interior Architecture is the design of an interior in architectural terms.
Although the original spatial hierarchy of a building is always established by its first architect, subsequent iterations of the interior may not be, and for obvious reasons, older structures are often modified by designers of a different generation according to society’s changing needs as our cities evolve. This process often re-semanticizes the building as a consequence, and is predicated on the notion that buildings can never really be complete and unalterable.
An altered building may look the same on the exterior, but its interior may be completely different spatially. The interior architect must therefore be sensitive not only to the place of the building in its physical and socio-political context, but to the temporal requirements of changing owners and users. In this sense, if the building has “good bones” the original architectural idea is therefore the first iteration of an internal spatial hierarchy for that structure, after which others are bound to follow
Cities are now dense with such buildings, perhaps originally built as banks that are now restaurants, perhaps industrial mills that are now loft apartments, or even railway stations that have become art galleries. In each case the collective memory of the shape and character of the city is generally held to be more desirable than the possibility of a new building on the same site, although clearly economic forces apply. It is also possible to speculate that there might well be further new interiors for these structures in future years, but for each alteration the technical and technological expertise of the era will determine the extent to which the building is modified in its building life cycle.