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MIAD senior’s passion for residential design becomes a career

Sebastian Wohlt

Sebastian Wohlt

Sebastian Wohlt’s passion for rearranging the furniture in his childhood bedroom, and occasionally painting a wall, became a major in Interior Architecture and Design – and a professional goal of residential design – at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD).

“I was always really involved in the arts and had heard a lot about MIAD from my art teachers at Appleton [WI] North High School,” says Wohlt, taking a break from work on his senior capstone project ‘Fenner Retreat.’”

“Going into my senior year in high school, I took a Pre-College class in fine art at MIAD, and thought I’ll go to MIAD for sure, develop my skills and possibly become a high school art teacher. But then I decided to try MIAD’s first-year course in Interior Architecture and Design (IAD), continued on and was sold on the major. I have no regrets. I’ve seen my work progress drastically every year.”

Now into his second paid commercial internship at Engberg Anderson Architects (his first was at Ramlow/Stein Architecture + Interiors), Wohlt is refining his project for the MIAD 2024 Senior Exhibition.

“Fenner Retreat is a residential renovation project of a cottage on a lake near the Wisconsin Dells,” he explains. “It belongs to my great-aunt. It’s a lovely building but it’s out of date and I wanted to bring it back to life, conceived as an Airbnb, by updating the existing interior structure and materials with sustainability in mind.”

“I had a hypothetical client – my aunt, who already owned a rental property cottage and had designed her existing home. Her input was important. I felt like I was solving a problem, even though it was hypothetical.”

Wohlt hadn’t been there in years, he says, “so I went back last fall and drew up new plans of the cottage as none existed. I drew roughly by hand, using a laser measure, and then came back to MIAD and refined the plans using Revit, calling out what I was changing.”

“I built the 3D model of the interior and exterior using SketchUp, adding the new materials for the walls and inside. It was a lot of fun.”

Wohlt aims to pursue residential design. “My internship is continuing over the summer. I am developing more experience in the commercial field and will take whatever I can to go into the residential field. I’ve loved both of my internships. It’s nice to get the experience of different offices and different people.”

As he looks ahead in the college’s 50th anniversary year, Wohlt says he sees a lot of advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) coming soon, but “AI is not going to replace our jobs. It may make them easier, but it can’t adjust for some of the basics in this profession, and we need to maintain our skills.”

Wolht’s project and those of the 210 seniors in his class are on view at the MIAD 2024 Senior Exhibition April 19 – May 11. MIAD Galleries are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 273 E. Erie St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Learn more about MIAD’s Interior Architecture and Design major. Visit MIAD.


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