School of Visual Arts presents ten senior thesis interior design projects

Dezeen School Shows: a community hub with commercial and residential programme spaces inspired by Haitian culture is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at the School of Visual Arts.

Also included is a funeral centre with multi-functional spaces and botanical elements and an educational therapy centre inspired by the structure of fungi.


Institution: School of Visual Arts
School: BFA Interior Design: Built Environments
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee

School statement:

“The 2024 SVA Interior Design: Built Environments Senior Thesis offers an immersive and comprehensive exploration tailored for aspiring interior designers.

“This course addresses a diverse array of project types, enabling students to integrate multiple design disciplines and methodologies.

“Through this integration, students will craft sensitive and aesthetically engaging interpretations of our built environment, emphasising sustainability and ethical responsibility.

“By focusing on these core values, students will develop the skills to create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also environmentally conscious and socially responsible, preparing them to be leaders in the field of interior design.”


Visualisation of a red culinary complex on a beige background.

Miss Tomato by Qian Jessie Wang

“Miss Tomato is a disruptive culinary landmark that not only redefines the world of ketchup but is also a multifaceted culinary destination that combines creativity, art and sustainability, located in the bustling Chelsea neighbourhood of New York City.

“It features a tomato rooftop farm, a ketchup factory, a ketchup retail store and a tomato-themed restaurant.

“In the design of the spatial structure, I skilfully borrowed the structural cross-section of a tomato, making the building itself resemble a giant, life-affirming tomato.

“The red tomato skin skylight dome in the atrium is like a ripe tomato glistening in the sunlight – the red sunlight adding a touch of vivid colour to the whole space.

“Miss Tomato brings a feast for the senses – here you can taste pure tomato sauce, discover endless food possibilities and embrace a new way of life.”

Student: Qian Jessie Wang
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: qwang14[at]sva.edu


Visualisation of a music venue showing a band playing on a stage, with yellow lighting and brown wooden ceilings.

The Aqua-Riff by Xueyi Cyrus Wang

“The Aqua-Riff is a one-of-a-kind waterfront music venue dedicated to creating an ideal entertainment environment for music lovers, especially heavy metal maniacs and local musicians.

“It was transformed from an old and unused parking garage located on the edge of Jersey City, west coast of the Hudson River, through selective utilisation and demolition of the existing structure.

“The Aqua-Riff injects the raw energy of old-school heavy metal into the coastline of Jersey City and invigorates the tedious neighbourhood through its unconventional outlook.”

Student: Xueyi Cyrus Wang
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: xwang55[at]sva.edu


Visualisation from above of white and grey community space buildings with red walls.

Total Community by Meixi Xu

“Involving local communities in Harbin’s urban cultural heritage conservation projects is seen as a critical component of successful historic preservation efforts.

“My thesis proposal not only preserves the historical and cultural heritage of the area, promoting the city’s unique identity but also ushers in a modern lifestyle and facilities to the community and neighbourhood.

“The project strives to manifest the Total Community concept, where the cultural heritage is protected, preserved and revitalised in an intuitive and bonding environment.”

Student: Meixi Xu
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: mxu1[at]3sva.edu


Visualisation of a blue interior of a community space with people sitting and walking through.

The Bridge by Charlotte Chuyan Zhou

“The vision for The Bridge is to design a versatile shared space that accommodates both the elderly and younger generations, facilitating meaningful connections between them.

“This is achieved through a dual-purpose approach: allocating time slots for each demographic, providing tailored activity spaces and strategically designing overlapping time periods to encourage intergenerational interactions.

“I seek to bridge the generational gap by creating a public space that serves as a conduit for the sharing of traditions, experiences and stories, ultimately reinforcing the bonds between different groups of people and ensuring the continuity of the cultural heritage.”

Student: Charlotte Chuyan Zhou
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: czhou10[at]sva.edu


Visualisation of a skate park and outdoor social space, made up of grey concrete, pillars and greenery.

One Eighty Point by Annabella Vilchis

“Located in the heart of Williamsburg, New York, One Eighty Point stands as a beacon within younger communities, integrating expansive indoor and outdoor environments.

“Adjacent to NYCHA housing, this urban oasis features a vibrant sunken skatepark on the ground level, complemented by a free-roaming gathering space on its second level.

“Churches, with their sacred ambience, prescribe specific behavioural codes – likewise, libraries maintain an air of constraint, often associated with authority, and cafés meticulously monitor access, predominantly catering to paying patrons.

“The facility will allow for structured and unstructured interactions and experiences that will nurture and stimulate physical, emotional and mental growth for the next generation of great New Yorkers.”

Student: Annabella Vilchis
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: avilchis[at]sva.edu


Visualisation of a therapy centre as a grey and gold building on a grey backdrop, with green trees either side.

Re-Mind by Wenxi Vivian Liu

“This therapy centre means to adopt adaptive reuse of historic sites of the Smallpox Hospital, located on Roosevelt Island.

“I aim to transform this space into a sanctuary for modern mental wellbeing, offering a place to rejuvenate the mind, reduce stress, provide education and promote function.

“The design approach is to create a comprehensive, personalised experience with a special focus on ‘magic mushroom’ sessions through an environment that truly embraces nature.

“Its core design weaves a theme of illusion, with the texture of the façade growing out of the site’s collapse by mimicking the structure of a fungus, creating a captivating effect of light and shadow.”

Student: Wenxi Vivian Liu
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: wliu7[at]sva.edu


Visualisation of a community hub, with a transparent structure detailed with orange circular patterns.

LI8N 88 by Yunfei Lisa Zhang

“My thesis project LI8N 88 aims to honour cultural heritage and serve as a community hub, drawing inspiration from the Chinese Lion Dance among other elements.

“My hometown is Shanghai, China, a bustling international metropolis that combines traditional elements with modern skyscrapers in its architecture.

“I hope to inject fresh vitality into the Chinatown community with my designs while preserving cultural heritage elements.

“The lion dance is a traditional Chinese performance featuring dancers that mimic a lion’s movements, often accompanied by drumming and cymbals – it is believed to bring luck and prosperity during festivals and celebrations.”

Student: Yunfei Lisa Zhang
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: yzhang82[at]sva.edu


Visualisation of a funeral centre interior, showing tall brown wooden rectangular structures with people sitting on benches and passing through and a large glass window showing green trees outside.

Farewell Retreat Centre by Yuhan Judy Wang

“The Farewell Retreat Centre is a funeral centre primarily focusing on ‘gathering’ as its central theme, aiming to cultivate a deep sense of unity among individuals.

“It aims to redefine the traditional view of ‘final death’, from a feared inevitability to an occasion to celebrate the memory of the deceased.

“The initiative uses botanical elements to create a tranquil atmosphere, with multi-functional spaces to meet the varying needs of visitors.”

Student: Yuhan Judy Wang
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: ywang190[at]sva.edu


A visualisation of an outside space, displaying a patio with tables and red chairs, a large green tree and hanging lights. It split vertically into two images, with one displaying it in daylight with blue sky and the other at night with a black sky.

Mache by Brianna Toussaint

“The word ‘mache’ is a homonym in Haitian Creole, which means ‘to walk’ and refers to a market.

“Mache is a home of social and cultural gathering that revitalises the community of Little Haiti by nestling vibrant and enticing courtyards between the buildings that make up the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.

“Mache ensures the increase in density to this historical neighbourhood block with both commercial and residential programme spaces, remaining true to the marketplace’s origin and serving the community members as a haven of comfort and security to those who seek it.”

Student: Brianna Toussaint
Course: Senior Thesis
Instructors: Gita Nandan and Anthony Lee
Email: btoussaint[at]sva.edu

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and the School of Visual Arts. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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