This has been my story: I’ve loved it at times and questioned it all at times. Regardless, I sure am thankful to be sitting at this desk (even if it is 8 in the morning).
As a student progressing through my Bachelors of Architecture from Penn State University for three years, I have heard a multitude of theories regarding the nature of architecture.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Da Vinci
“Less is more.” Mies Van der Rohe
“Less is a bore.” Venturi; thanks for your input.
I have sincerely enjoyed these speculative discussions with passionate professors that last for hours. They’ve helped to shape my foundation for how I approach architecture. My perspective has been turned on its head again and again, and I’ve had the freedom and the appropriate coaching to develop my own thoughts, opinions, and voice. This education of mine has also traversed the other end of the spectrum, and taught me load bearing calculations for wide flange steel structures, occupancy calculations for high hazard storage uses, and how to edit type parameters in a Revit family. My days include late nights, sporadic meal times, and one more step in the same huge project.
As an architectural intern at JL Architects, the abstracted theories and opinions my professors have nurtured in me are less openly debated in the office, but have instead sunk into my overall approach to architectural problem solving. I now have an opportunity for my more practical knowledge base to grow to the point of bursting at the seams. By the very nature of being a designer for real life commercial projects, a more extensive set of expectations are put on me from the outset. Stairs have to meet code, door swings must not interfere with ADA compliance, it’s crucial that materials be accurately noted, and dimensions cannot be lackadaisically placed. My days NOW include early mornings (coffee in hand), a scheduled break for lunch, and detail-oriented work on a variety of projects.
Now working in an office, I’m a member of a team. I have to be collaborating and communicating with that team. What I sacrifice in ability to live to my own schedule, I gain in more accurate, well-rounded work (that actually gets built, how fun is that?!).
Many elements are shockingly different, yet much of my work feels so comfortable and familiar. I think we humans, with our human brains, love to categorize everything and may have found this blog more digestible as a straight forward compare-and-contrast chart. There is certainly value in simplifying bigger realities to try and understand them better, but a chart just doesn’t do my current reality justice. My life as an architecture student to an architectural intern is less chart and a more blurred transition. Putting into practice so many theories and skills I have already learned while everyday gaining more extensive factual knowledge and practical experience is an adventure. At JL Architects I feel like a member of a driven and connected team, striving to do work with integrity. I am truly grateful for every bit I learn from their direction, big and small!
Disclaimer: this assessment of life as an architecture student and life as an architectural intern is from my experience only, and does not speak as a generalization of students or interns.