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Environmental Design

Focusing on the design of expressive and humane interior and architectural space, projects are developed in an interior architectural, environmental and societal context.

Student work by 2014 Medal Winner Sanaz Mianji.

Environmental Design

The Environmental Design program focuses on the design of expressive and humane interior and architectural space. Projects are developed in an interior architectural, environmental and societal context.

Core design studios develop a design methodology of research, analysis, design and presentation, emphasizing conceptual development. You learn to transform conceptual ideas into spatial realities.

Advanced studio projects include commercial, residential, retail, hospitality and institutional design, with a variety of interdisciplinary options.

The fourth-year thesis studio focuses on a more complex project corresponding to your particular values and interests. This core curriculum is supported by a broad base of design theory, material and technology, drawing, computer and graphic presentation, and professional practice course material.

Graduates of the Environmental Design program are recognized by the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, and often find career placement in:

  • Interior design studios
  • Environmental, architecture or landscape firms
  • Product-design companies

Many continue on to graduate studies in architecture, environmental sciences and sustainability programs, or use their design education to create new opportunities in varied and unique situations.

Retention rate

(As per the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange [CSRDE] definition; percentage of first-time, first-year, full-time students returning from fall count to fall count.)

Cohort 1st- to 2nd-year retention 
2012 95%
2011 89%
2010 92% 
2009 92%
2008 81% 

Example interpretation: 95% of those students who were registered as a first-time, first-year, full-time Environmental Design student as at the November count date in 2012 were registered as students at OCAD University as at the November count date in 2013.

Graduation rate

(As per Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange [CSRDE] definition; percentage of first-time, first-year, full-time students as of the fall count date who graduated within six years.)

Cohort 6-year graduation rate
2008 68%
2007 81%
2006 78%
2005 69%
2004 74%

Example interpretation: 68% of those students who were registered as a first-time, first-year, full-time environmental design student as at the November count date in 2008 graduated within six years.

Employment rate

According to the 2013 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) survey results, those who indicated graduating from OCAD U in the last five years (2009 to 2013) with a degree in Environmental Design had a 93% employment rate, and 92% of those who were employed indicated their training at OCAD U was relevant to their current employment.

Note: SNAAP is an annual online survey administered to art and design alumni from participating institutions. The survey asks alumni about their experiences at the institution and post-graduation, with a focus on employment outcomes. OCAD U participated in 2011 and 2013. Over 1,400 OCAD U alumni participated across the two administrations of the survey.

Places of employment

Our students work in varied spatial design fields and firms; some examples include: Bruce Mau Design; Holt Renfrew (store designer); Starbucks (store design program); Yabu Pushelberg; Cecconi Simone; II BY IV Design; Gluck + (New York); Daniels Corp.; Diamond Schmitt Architects; Harir Pontarini Architects; B+H Architects; Zeidler Partnership Architects; Adamson Architects; Quadrangle Architects; NORR Limited; TIFF (design intern); Scotiabank Canada; Apple.

Many students have entered into master's programs for architecture, utilizing their Environmental Design degrees for their first architectural degrees. Others have gone on to study landscape architecture, theatre design and furniture design.

Acceptance into graduate programs

Many of our students successfully go on to master's programs. Our students applying to master's programs have been accepted at a rate of 100%.

Schools and programs our graduates are in or have graduated from are:

  • Aalto University, Finland, MArch
  • Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk, Poland, Master of Fine Art
  • Columbia University, New York, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, MArch
  • Dalhousie University, Halifax, MArch
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, IIT, Chicago, MArch
  • Lund University, Sweden, Faculty of Engineering, Masters in Urban Design, Sustainable Urban Design
  • McGill University, Montreal, MArch
  • Nordic Five Tech (Alliance of five Universities in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), dual Master's in Sustainable Urban Transitions
  • Parsons, New York, MArch
  • Pratt Institute, New York, MArch
  • Ryerson University, Toronto, Diploma in Restoration Architecture
  • UIC  Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, Sustainable Emergency Architecture, MArch
  • University of Birmingham, England, MSc Urban and Regional Planning
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, MArch
  • University of Calgary, MArch
  • University of Michigan, MArch
  • University of Toronto, MArch, Master's of Landscape Architecture

Awards and recognition

  • Gamal Mohammed, sessional faculty member, recently published The Edge Environment in Traditional Cairo: An Anatomical Approach to Reading the Social Pattern Language of the Middle Eastern Built Environment.
  • Stuart Reid, professor, won the Union Station Art Installation competition. Stuart has designed and created 164 acid etched and painted glass panels to be installed in the Union Station Subway platform in 2015.
  • Gayle Nicoll, dean, Faculty of Design, and professor, recently published Active Design: Affordable Designs for Affordable Housing (2014), a follow up to Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (2010).
  • Cheryl Giraudy, associate professor, was recently awarded her MSc in Accessible and Inclusive Design, from the Surface Inclusive Design Research Centre at the University of Salford, UK.
  • Glenn MacArthur, assistant professor, recently published the second edition of Colour & Two-Dimensional Design, an in-depth colour textbook used at OCAD U in the first-year curriculum.
  • Cathie Sutton, assistant professor, recently completed her PhD in anthropology at York University.





2015/2016 Program Overview

Course Code Course Title Credits
ENVR-1001 Environmental Design 1 0.5
ENVR-1002 Environmental Design 2 0.5
ENVR-1003 Materials and Methods 0.5
ENVR-1004 Concept Drawing 0.5
GDES-1013 Solid and Void 0.5
GDES-1019 Experience Design 0.5
GDES-1022 Colour and 2D Design 0.5
VISC-1001 Global Visual & Material Culture: To 1800 0.5
VISC-1002 Global Visual & Material Culture: To Present 0.5
ENGL-1003 The Essay and the Argument 0.5
  OR  
ENGL-1004 The Essay and the Argument: ESL 0.5
Course Code Course Title Credits
ENVR-2002 Colour, Light & Environment 0.5
ENVR-2003 Environmental Design: Personal Space 0.5
ENVR-2004 Structure 1 0.5
ENVR-2005 Environmental Design: Social Space & Diversity 0.5
ENVR-2006 Research Studio: Social Space 0.5
ENVR-2007 Presentation Drawing 0.5
GDES-2001 Think Tank: Awareness 0.5
VISD-2005 Contemporary Design Theories & Practices 0.5
2000 or 3000 1 Course ENGL, HUMN, SCTM, or SOSC 0.5
VISD-2001 History of Modern Design 0.5
OR
VISD-2009 History of Modern Architecture 0.5
Course Code Course Title Credits
ENVR-3002 Research Methodologies 0.5
ENVR-3006 Environmental Design: Retail & Hospitality 0.5
ENVR-3007 Environmental Design: Residential & Inclusivity 0.5
ENVR-3008 Introduction to Lighting 0.5
ENVR-3009 Structure 2 0.5
ENVR-3010 Environmental Design: Accessible Design 0.5
SCTM-3002 Human Factors for Designers 0.5
GDES 2 Expansion Studios Designated for Environmental Design 1.0
2000, 3000, or 4000 1 Course ENGL, HUMN, SCTM, or SOSC 0.5
Course Code Course Title Credits
ENVR-4001 Professional Practice for Environmental Design 0.5
GDES 2 Expansions Designated for Environmental Design 1.0
3000 or 4000 1 Course ENGL, HUMN, SCTM, SOSC, VISA, VISC, VISD, or VISM 0.5
AND ONE OF
GDES-3022 Interior Design: Residential 0.5
GDES-4005 Architecture Design Studio 1 0.5
AND ONE OF
VISD-4002 Contemporary Studies Architecture & Design 0.5
VISC-4005 Urban Life: Art, Design, City 0.5
AND THE TWO COURSES
ENVR-4901 Environmental Design Thesis 1 1.0
ENVR-4902 Environmental Design Thesis 2 1.0
OR THE 2 COURSES
ENVR-4907 Environmental Design Thesis 1: Interior Design (core)
(*Pending Senate approval, this course will no longer be offered.)
1.0
ENVR-4908 Environmental Design Thesis 2: Interior Design (core)
(*Pending Senate approval, this course will no longer be offered.)
1.0