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Interior Architecture

Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying

Dean Isham
Dean Isham

Dean  Isham 

Associate Professor
423-439-7833 /
215 Wilson-Wallis Hall



M.F.A., Winthrop University, 1995
BUS, Oklahoma State University, 1987


Professor Isham has been teaching university level interior design courses since the fall of 1994, where his teaching has focused on visualization skills and the beginning design student. His creative activities have produced award-wining designs in architecture, 2D, and 3D categories.  He has been actively engaged in the construction of straw bale buildings. In 2009 lead a group of volunteer students in the construction of the McCrory Outdoor Classroom at McCrory Gardens, in Brookings, South Dakota. hThis is a 900 s.f. general purpose building will be the focus of a children’s garden area that will emphasize sustainable gardening practices. hThis is the first straw bale structure with a living roof in South Dakota.  He also maintains the active design firm, Isham Design Resources..

Current Scholarship:
Researching the importance of hand skills to the design process, Issues surrounding the beginning design student

Creative Activity:
Table from reclaimed materials
Renderings of Barns Entrances

Design projects:
Gabe’s Room, patient room remodel, Make-a-wish Foundation - Johnson City, TN
Reynolds Residence - Deck Design - Jonesborough, TN
Bates Residence – Straw Bale Construction – Columbus, OH

List of Presentations/Publications

  • Isham D. (2013).What ever happened to making?Interior Architecture Educators Council Exchange, Surface Theme, Spring 2013 issue.
  • Presentation, Fourth International Conference on the Constructed Environment, Lisbon, Portugal.Technology as a disruptive change in the iterative process for beginning design students, Oct 4-5, 2013. Isham, D., Emma, T. Isham D. (Fall 2013).
  • Isham D. (Fall 2012). Presentation, IDEC South Regional Conference, Richmond, VA.Active sketching: Empowering abductive learning to bridge the gap between dreams and reality during lower division studios. **Awarded Outstanding Abstract Entry.
  • Isham D. (Fall 2012). Presentation, IDEC South Regional Conference, Richmond, VA.(10 Elements × 8 Principles) ÷ abductive learning = 9:Introduction of the design process through exploration of lakota culture in a first semester freshman studio.
  • Isham D. (Jan/Feb 2012).2012 higher education guide to sustainable practices - bale building, South Dakota Magazine.
  • Isham D. (Summer 2012).Many bales: one building generates awareness in South Dakota,IDEC (Interior Architecture Educators Council) Exchange – Environmentally Responsible Design Summer 2012 Issue
  • Isham D. (April 8, 2011). AAFCS Regional Conference, Cedar Falls, IA.Many bales: building community/children’s gardening and outdoor classroom at mccrory gardens.
  • Isham D (Dec. 3, 2010).Sustainable housing design,Glacial Lakes Permiculture Workshop, SDSU.
  • Isham D. (Oct. 9 2010).Home is? rethinking the priorities of ownership, Schultz Commemorative Symposium.
  • Isham D. (Aug 1, 2010).Straw bale buildings and value added agriculture,McCrory Gardens, Brookings, SD.
  • Isham D. (April 2010).Straw bale construction and a living roof, American Institute of Architects South Dakota, volume two, number one.
  • Isham D. (April 2010).Service learning and straw bale construction, McCrory Gardens, Brookings, SD.
  • Isham D. (Spring 2009).Straw-bale building mccrory gardens building proves what energy efficient really means, South Dakota State University, College of Family and Consumer Sciences Newsletter.
  • Isham D. (May 2009).Housing issues with straw bale building, South Dakota NRCS eNews.
  • Isham D. (July 13, 2009). Straw bale house built in brookings, The Bismarck Tribune.
  • Isham D. (July 3, 2009). McCrory building is a straw bale success,Brookings Register.
  • Isham D. (July 13, 2009).Straw bale house built in brookings,Custom Builder.
  • Isham D. (Summer 2009).Mccrory gardens straw bale,Chartreuse: Bright Green Research.
  • Keloland Television (Aug. 30, 2009).SDSU’s straw bale building


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