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Congratulations to Kimberly Porter, winner of the $3,000 James Northcutt Scholarship Award!

Kim Porter

Kimberly Porter is what many instructors would call an outstanding student. She was nominated for the Northcutt Scholarship by her Studio II instructor, Rogerio Carvalheiro, who recognized her remarkable talent. Like many other students in the program, Kimberly career path began in an entirely different field—and it took a repeated bout of dissatisfaction for her to realize that she has a bright future in interior design ahead of her.

Frustrated while working in TV and film, Kimberly began wondering if she had chosen the right line of work. “If this doesn’t work out,” she thought, “I want to be an interior designer.” While taking on another TV job and then another with no avail, Kimberly enrolled in the Certificate of Interior Design program at UCLA Extension in Summer 2009 and was immediately hooked! Although she remained employed at her TV jobs while attending classes in her spare time, she knew it was time to move on from TV and jump wholeheartedly into Interior Design. So in Spring 2013, she switched gears to fulfil her Interior Design dreams.

During her education at UCLA Extension, she had the opportunity to work at a design firm in Pasadena that specializes in multi-family residential work. Kimberly’s employer sees great potential in her and has been extremely supportive of her educational path and growth as a designer. “I love going to work every day,” Kimberly stated enthusiastically, “I know I made the right move into this field of work!” In Fall 2014, Kimberly accomplished her goal of obtaining a Certificate of Interior Design and will be applying for her Master’s of Interior Architecture at UCLA Extension/Cal Poly Pomona this Spring 2015.

To find out what it takes to win the Northcutt Scholarship, we interviewed Kimberly about her project and also asked her some questions that prospective students would find valuable:

Please describe your project.
This project combines elements of the styles of architect Daniel Libeskind and fashion designer Prabal Gurung to create a live-work loft space intended for two design professionals living and working under the same roof. Both Libeskind’s and Gurung’s designs are dominated by geometric shapes, sharp angles, and asymmetry, which I used to create sculptural walls that divide the rooms in the space. One of the elements I was most drawn to in Libeskind’s designs was his affinity for adding highly stylized, modern and geometric elements to existing (sometimes historical) spaces, so I was very conscious of combining similar protruding shapes with more raw materials, like using existing concrete flooring throughout the common spaces and reclaimed wood facing for the walls throughout.

In space planning the 3-story loft space, I really considered how the space might be used both during work and personal time. In my own life, I value a separation between work and home life so the space is designed so that the people living there do not necessarily have to go through the home to access the work spaces, and vice versa.

How did you come up with the concept for your project?
Once I had researched the past works of Daniel Libeskind and Prabal Gurung, I started considering what kind of geometric elements would be most appropriate for this project, and how they would interact with the existing building. I played around with 3-dimensional shapes in SketchUp, inserting large independent iceberg-like shapes into the space, stretching and changing them until I saw what I was looking for. And then the real fun came in the details, like the floating staircases and railings, choosing finishes, and both finding existing and designing custom furnishings and lighting! I surprised myself by adding elements of copper throughout, an unexpected element of my own sense of style living amongst that of Libeskind and Gurung.

How will the scholarship help you meet your career goals and aspirations?
I am so grateful for this scholarship, which is allowing me to go on to the Master’s level and enhance my knowledge and skills as a designer. My primary goal will be to learn more about building systems, codes, and the business side of the interior design field.

From  your experiences in the Certificate of Interior Design program, what helpful insights would you share with prospective students?
I feel like all of the classes leading up to Studio II genuinely came together in that one class. Because of that, and incredible creative support and encouragement from Rogerio, I had a huge confidence boost working on this project and that increase in confidence has carried through to my professional life as well. It has even resulted in my promotion at work! All of this reinforces that I have chosen the right career, and I’m excited to discover what more is ahead.

Images of Kimberly Porter’s project:

The James R. Northcutt Scholarship for Advanced Students a $3,000 tuition credit award that is granted twice a year to students who have completed Interior Architecture Studio II. The award is based upon the work demonstrated in projects from Interior Architecture Studio II. To find out if you are eligible for this scholarship or others, please see the Arc+ID Scholarships and Financial Aid information page.

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