Iowa State students design interiors for combat outposts – News Service – Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa — If you think interior design is all about paint colors, fabric swatches and furniture styles, think again. Students in an Iowa State University graduate studio have propelled interior design to a place it’s never been before: the 21st century combat outpost.Students in the advanced experimental studio class created environments that support combat soldiers’ mental health and help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD). Their designs balance privacy and connection, relaxation and security, meditation and activity.The 1920s cots (yes, they’re still used), standard-issue tents and hanging-poncho privacy dividers are replaced with individual spaces that soldiers can personalize and control. Communal spaces are strong and masculine; personal spaces are soft and soothing.Believed to be the only class of its kind, “In Harm’s Way: Interior Design for Modern Combat” is the brainchild of Interior Design Professor and Chair Lee Cagley.

Source: Iowa State students design interiors for combat outposts – News Service – Iowa State University

While I can see some immediate challenges (primarily logistical) that is an interesting subject. For small units, quarters are primarily their own problem. That is, if you’re a platoon assigned to occupy and build a COP in the middle of Afghanistan, you’re not going to have a lot of engineering support. Your going to be living in tentage and maybe repurposed Conex boxes mostly.

But the major Forward Operating Bases will have plenty of support. CHU farms, and mess halls, laundries and practically every other service found on a stateside military installation are used.

There’s generally a reason why the Army does things the way it does, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be willing to look outside for better ways.

7 thoughts on “Iowa State students design interiors for combat outposts – News Service – Iowa State University”

  1. Let’s see. In my 3 trips to Iraq, I lived on a roof top in downtown Baghdad for three months. Then it was a 12×12 wooden box in Ramadi with a subsequent move to another 12×12 wooden box with neighbors in Falluhjah and then I slept on a dry-erase board on the floor of the TOC and then in a 20′ metal container in South Baghdad. Finally, I achieved the ulimate living, a “wet CHU” on a FOB in South Baghdad. All of these would have benefited greatly from the contributions of an interior designer…. The designer must be exeprienced in working with the limited color palette of “T-Wall Grey” and “unstained plywood Brown.”

  2. They always had pea green and titty pink at the paint locker. All this is going to do is create a logistics problem and complicate filling out a paint chit.

    1. One other thing – I bet you’re still not allowed to “personalize” your space with a pin up calendar.

  3. ” environments that support combat soldiers’ mental health and help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder. ”

    How much time do they think those 144 folks are going to spend enjoying those supportive and relaxing accommodations? Somebody has to guard that fairly large perimeter (Unless it is contracted out like Camp Bondsteel), and I am pretty sure there is a reason for the existence of that “combat outpost” that does not involve spending much time relaxing and meditating. Not to mention the normal duties like painting and rearranging rocks, sweeping and mopping dirt, burning s***, etc.

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