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About the city

Bloemfontein (the Afrikaans and Dutch word for fountain of flowers) is the Capital City of the Free State Province. Situated less than 400 km south of Johannesburg, Bloemfontein (affectionately known as the city of roses) is the Judicial Capital of the country, as well as the sixth largest city in South Africa.

The 'Bloemfontein Rose Festival' takes place annually in October, the best time of the year for Free State roses to bloom. In addition, various competitions throughout the year invite horticulturalists to help with the designing and improving of untidy gardens in Bloemfontein.

The rich heritage of Bloemfontein is reflected in its variety of buildings of historical importance, as well as its museums. Some of the more noteworthy historical buildings include: The National Afrikaans Literature Museum, Twin-spire Church, Lebohang Building and the  City Hall.

What is interior architecture?

Interior architecture is concerned with architecture and construction, and shares a lot of traits with Interior Design. Students of these fields learn to design comfortable, safe, and useful indoor spaces, from residential houses to corporate offices. But somebody studying interior architecture will learn much more than which style of furnishings to choose. Technical information, like seismic retrofitting (which protects old buildings from earthquakes) is one element that typically forms part of the study of interior architecture (and Architecture), but not so much Interior Design/Decorating.

Other elements that make up the study of interior architecture include historical architectural and design styles, building codes and safety measures, preserving and restoring old buildings, the drawing of plans and original designs, and building both physical and virtual (3D) models for projects.

What are the job duties of an interior architect?

An interior architect drafts plans and designs to create or renovate indoor structures such as private homes or commercial / retail spaces. Every project requires interaction with the client to obtain information on their wants and needs pertaining to the project. interior architects also regularly work with other professionals in the industry such as architects, electricians, interior designers, etc.

In creating plans for a project, the interior architect will take into account interior construction, lighting fixtures, the layout of a room, the placement of doors and windows, plumbing and electrical systems, ventilation, and in some cases furnishings. The interior architect is involved in a project from the beginning to end, and should they not fulfil the role of Project Manager, they will definitely work very close with one to ensure the project proceeds as per instructions.

How does an interior architect differ from an interior designer and interior decorator?

An interior architect focuses on the balancing of the art- and science sides while designing an interior space. During the project, an interior architect takes into account all elements of the building. It should be noted that a designer in training in interior architecture cannot call themselves an interior architect unless they have obtained professional accreditation from an architectural body.

The work of an interior designer has more to do with construction than aesthetic embellishments, even though the visual look of a space is also part of an interior designer's job. Interior designers, similar to interior architects, have to understand and comply with all current and applicable building regulations, yet they can also provide consulting services for related purposes like a space's colour palettes, furniture choices, etc.

Interior decorators are solely concerned with the decoration of a space in terms of furniture and décor.

Important / interesting questions to ask an interior architect

  1. What sets your firm / services apart from other interior architects in the industry?
  2. What is your experience with buildings / projects similar to mine?
  3. Can you share some portfolio pieces with me, and provide me with a list of client references?
  4. Who from your firm will be in charge of my project?
  5. What challenges do you foresee for my project?
  6. What, in your opinion, are the most important issues / considerations in my project?
  7. What is your approximate timetable for finishing my project?
  8. What mediums will you make use of to communicate the different stages of my project to me (i.e. drawings, 3D renderings, models)?
  9. What do you need from my side?
  10. How disruptive will construction be on my household?
  11. How do you calculate your fees?
  12. What services are included and for which ones would you charge additional costs?
  13. What is your track record with finalising a project similar to mine on time and within budget?
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