Interior Architecture: research and design

    Two-year master in English, starts in September

    Master Interior Architecture: Research + Design, MIARD at the Piet Zwart Institute is an international post-graduate programme that is part of the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. MIARD is a two-year multidisciplinary course with a focus on practice-based research and spatial strategies in the field of interior architecture. We invite you to visit our digital archive and explore the work produced in the programme. 

    Interior architects face a shifting planet enmeshed in new realities, technologies, socio-political, environmental and economic challenges; consequently, practice today calls for different means, for practitioners to be adaptable, resourceful and seek out future forms. At MIARD, design is a form of research that circulates across spatial dimensions with numerous pathways and scales —from local issues to global changes, from objects to architecture and beyond. The interior is an emergent and multilayered site of research, cultural analysis, critical reflection and space of conjecture. By merging spatial practice and research with critical strategies in the programme, students develop their self-directed, practice-based research positioned amongst cultural and environmental urgencies. The programme engages with a range of topical themes, methods, tools, and formats to think critically about practice and modes of production in the context of the (built) environment amid a theoretical and historical framework. Our multidisciplinary and imaginative approach to the development of a creative practice produces a learning environment that welcomes diversity, originality, and conversation amid intellectual and professional rigor.

    Throughout the two-year programme, students work with a community of professionals — architects, designers, artists, researchers, curators, editors, publishers, graphic designers, interaction designers, writers and educators. The international expertise and varied disciplinary backgrounds enrich our education and directly connect students to a global research and professional culture. Our faculty provides a stimulating learning context in the development of diverse creative practices and professionalisation.  They work closely with international students that join us from around the globe with different professional, educational and cultural backgrounds. Together, teachers, students, and external professionals create a vibrant and respectful community where we learn and work with each other, engage in conversation, and exchange ideas, which is an aspect of our dialogue-based learning approach.

    We make things public and engage with broader communities through a mix of activities – guest talks, studio visits, workshops, and intimate conversations coupled with excursions, collaborations, and exhibitions. We invite people to join us at MIARD from diverse practices to talk about their projects and work with our students. These activities enrich our community, a student’s professional network, and educational experience. In recent years, we have participated in national and international professional events and fostered collaborations with; Het Nieuwe InstituutLisbon Architecture TriennaleSalone del Mobile MilanoKunstinstituut MellyFlevoland Art Weekend, deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, and Dutch Design Week, amongst others. The work of students and alumni has been recognized and published by e-flux ArchitectureMetropolis MDomusDezeenDAMN Magazine, and Archinect, to name a few. These experiences allow one to make informed decisions about the circulation and communication of their work across different contexts and formats to professional and general audiences.

    MIARD is located in a modern building with a wide selection of academic, production facilities, and resources in the center of Rotterdam: a culturally diverse and creative city with vibrant communities — recognized for its dynamic cultural production in architecture, design, and the arts. For more specific information about the programme, curriculum, practices, and professional activities visit our research archive here.

    Facts and figures

    The programme at a glance

    Programme structure

    A view of the study programme

    Programme description

    MIARD is a nationally accredited course with a focus on practice-based research and spatial strategies in the field of interior architecture. Research is multifaceted and self-directed in the program. Practice-based research at MIARD aims to develop the bodies of knowledge, contextual framework, resources, and methods of a student’s spatial practice, which is learned by doing research. The program identifies research in and through the arts, also known as “artistic research,” which is research by designers and artists that is produced in and through their work and collaborations. The research activity requires a strong sense of curiosity, analysis, and diligence to formulate positions, scrutinize assumptions and cultural systems. 

    In the program, students identify their subject matter and methods to formulate a distinct area of study, design, and writing. They critically reflect and analyze issues within their field of practice and across a broader social-cultural, historical, and theoretical context. They make informed decisions about the impact of their work with the work of others and its circulation and reception across broader (professional) communities.


    The curriculum is multidisciplinary and integrated. We explore a range of topical themes, methods, tools, and formats to educate students to think creatively about practice and modes of production in the context of architecture, interiors, design, and art amid a theoretical, cultural, and historical framework. Writing, reading, and dialogue are viewed as forms of research. Navigating media and technologies imaginatively as a way to materialize and circulate projects to broader audiences. These creative explorations influence and shape a self-directed methodology. The first year of the course establishes relevant research and design skills that prepare students to work on their Graduation Project in the second year. All classes are taught in English.


    Curriculum modules include — Thematic Design Projects, Critical Strategies, Multiple Media, and Graduation Project.

    Graduation Project & Thesis

    The Graduation Project is a yearlong, self-directed exploration composed of a design project and thesis. By merging practice and theory in a multidisciplinary process, students develop a self-directed, critical viewpoint and construct a unique body of work that confronts existing spatial ideologies and expands notions of space. The thesis encompasses the theoretical framework of the design activity: the methods, contexts, questions, and critical and analytical approach of the student. The design project and thesis influence each other throughout the process, creating reciprocity between the two endeavors. During this time, students achieve a level of maturity and autonomy in their practice and professional network; in parallel, the work embodies its own identity with a distinct methodology that guides and illuminates a student’s voice and its broader socio-cultural impact. The final body of work is the accumulation of the two-year educational and professional trajectory at MIARD.

    The final projects are exhibited publicly during our annual graduation exhibition, which is planned with the Piet Zwart Institute and Willem de Kooning Academy graduation events in Rotterdam.

    After your study programme

    Different possibilities

    After your graduation

    The master's degree we offer:
    Master of Arts, M.A

    Master Interior Architecture: Research + Design, MIARD program is accredited and reviewed by the NVAO Nederlands-Vlaams Accreditatie Organisatie, the standard academic accreditation council for the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, and fully subsidized by the Dutch state.

    The MIARD graduate embodies a broad definition of practice. They identify professionally in multiple ways, increasingly moving towards blended career paths. Our alumni have established design studios and artistic practices, and some hold design and research leadership positions at respected interior, architecture, and design studios. Others direct their specialization as researchers and cultural producers in arts and culture organizations — or have started media, film, and branding companies. We see graduates who now hold teaching positions or continue their research and professionalization in 3rd cycle doctoral studies. Our alumni are an important part of our professional community and continue to contribute and enrich the program.

    MIARD is recognized as a qualifying Dutch master program for the professional title of interior architect by Architecten Register.

    With your degree, you will receive a supplement, a DS-label. With this English document, you can show the value of your degree abroad when applying for other study programmes or when applying for a job.

    Visit the archive in the section menu/public/announcement for alumni news.


    Hier zijn we te vinden
    Foto van locatie Locatie

    Wijnhaven 61

    Wijnhaven 61 3011 WN Rotterdam