My first day at Cannon Design was great! I met with my contact, Aimee Hughes, for about five minutes and then she introduced me to the women I would be shadowing this week: Ananta and Kalyn. They are the two interior architects at the Boston firm and they were so kind and interesting. They showed me several of the projects that they are working on, from a gymnasium complex at Washington and Lee University to renovations of three branches of the New York Public Library. On the first day I got to sit in on several presentations about the NYPL project, and then I helped Ananta pick out materials and carpets for the WLU gymnasium project. After we picked out some materials, we organized their library. The Boston firm has only recently begun to rebuild their materials library with more samples which recently came in, so they needed to be put away and organized. My second day ended up being Wednesday because of the snowstorm. It was just as good as the first day though! We ended up picking more materials for the gymnasium and then also I got to watch a design presentation for the NYPL project again, so it was nice to see the growth from day to day on the project. I also got to see the Revit model and pages for the Washington and Lee project, which was super interesting.
Day 3 at IA was spent mainly shadowing a Job Captain, and then assisting some other designers alone the way. I started off my morning by pulling finishes for the Houston project I had worked on the day before. This included paint colors, wall base, vinyl products, and Static Dissipative Tile, which I was unfamiliar with. It is used in spaces such as server rooms to prevent electric and static transfer. Afterward, I was walked through a project for a fintech company. The good news was, the company has beautiful branding and graphics to go off of, but the space they will be occupying has a major curve which makes for tricky space planning. Later in the day, I worked on a presentation for the digital branch of a banking company and joined in on a client call for them. The call was extremely insightful and showed it can be a challenge to convey ideas to non-designers and proved well designers need to be able to express their ideas. I rounded out the day by refining a finish palette the healthcare group project.
Today, most of my day was spent doing schematic design for a tile company’s new office and showroom. I was given a helpful, detailed programming breakdown sheet with information from the initial client meeting. This included branches of the company, number of workers in each, and approximate spatial needs. From there, I took that sheet, plans of the building shell, trace, and a marker and got to work. I began by interpreting the programming breakdown, such as by noting key adjacencies. I moved on to bubble diagram iterations. I reviewed my strongest one with the designer, who helped me make some tweaks. He appreciated that I made note of questions (ex. does the break room need anything next to it to act as a sound buffer?) and made educated design decisions (ex. placing the CEOs assistant’s office by the CEOs’ offices). I moved onto blocking diagrams, and afterward ran through the same process for the showroom. I was happy that he took into account all of my ideas for the design moving forward as well.
Next, I will be reviewing my portfolio with the Office Director to finish up my time here at IA.
My first day at NELSON was wonderful. I felt so welcomed and came in very eager for whatever they had to offer. We started off with a tour of the office which included the materials library, main conference room, collaboration rooms, open offices, a lighting center, work room with printers and plotters, private phone rooms, a yoga studio, and a full kitchen. Next, I attended a staff meeting to discuss the fiscal year and some current projects the staff are working on. After that, I learned about a newer program called iOFFICE and listened in on an online presentation regarding its new updates. Finally, I worked with one of the architects to further develop an AutoCAD file they had been working with for a new store coming to Newbury Street. The day ended with an announcement that the office would be operating from home for the next two days due to the incoming snow storm.
Today is the beginning of Day 4 at Rice Fergus Miller in Bremerton, WA, which means I’ve finished half of my time here. (!!) It has been a quick week, but a great one.
Organization and Open Arms: The firm is organized into pods made up of a specific type of work. There is a hospitality pod, a senior housing pod, a fire station pod, and a community pod. Each pod is made up of an integrated team of both interiors and architects who work side by side on their pod’s respective projects. I have been fortunate enough to have conversations with at least one designer from each pod, and in most cases, a few designers from each pod throughout the week. They have been so kind to set aside their time to answer my questions, give advice, walk me through their projects, and even give me some tasks to get my hands on.
Communication + Community: I am impressed in every conversation I have at the respect that each designer has for each other and the healthy communication that exists at the firm. I have witnessed many “breakouts” where designers stop what they’re working on as individuals to talk through ideas at one of the various collaboration tables, and have found value in the specific questions designers are asking each other regarding project clarifications, client expectations, and time projections. There exists an authentic honesty among designers about responsibilities and time commitments, which from what I have witnessed has created a healthy work environment.
I have loved getting to know the designers and having a better insight in what day-to-day looks like. I’m endlessly thankful for the ways they’ve allowed me to learn from their team so far. Here’s the rest of the week!
My third day at Uhuru was very chill. I worked on finishing a product document for a clients custom coffee table, and began working on the construction documents for the same client. My laptop is kind of slow so it takes a bit longer to finish tasks than I’d like, but I’m becoming friends with a few of the designers here. I walked to a far away cafe during my lunch break to explore the neighborhood. Red Hook is really cute and industrial, there is not a lot of public transportation so it’s feels fairly abandoned compared to the rest of Brooklyn.
When I came back from getting lunch, I ate at the community table with one of the co-founders and a few of the designers, and we continued to talk about post-grad options and living in New York and working in furniture design. They invited me to their opening party for the new showroom in May!
There’s also a rotating office dog, Monday was Lulu the Dachschund, today was Whiskey the Frenchie. This is a really great office.
Day 2: 3/13/18
I went to another site visit with a view of D.C that was about 360 degrees. Carrie briefed me about what was going on, and the complications. The lower floor tenants wanted something different then what could be provided and that caused conflict, yet they are lucky, because the upper floors are still in the construction stage, and can manipulate the elements, to a certain degree. This was a really cool site to go to and was only Two Blocks away from the firm. While on the site visit, I got to learn about how large the project is, and how many people have input in on this one project. From this experience I learned how many people are actually on a team start to finish with a building. But also, how long the meetings can be jut to have updates, and the importance of these so that the GC and crew stay on track.
Day 3: 3/14/18
Today was an office work day. While in the office, I put together some reflected ceiling plans, drew up some lighting ideas, and pulled materials together.There was also a rep from Steelcase. She talked about the new products, merging and partnering with other vendors and what type of direction they are trying to go in now. This was very interesting and I enjoyed seeing the new products, and the materials that will become available very soon. Each of these items is for the same project. It is for a company that needs to redo and outdated floor, yet they don’t want to spend too much money, so the designers on this project have to become creative in a way that will tie all three floors together. The main area of focus was the elevator lobby and how to bring more light into it. This is why I was drawing up some lighting ideas and ceiling plans. The materials are for the pantry/kitchen areas in the office to bring them more up to date, by replacing the flooring, counter top, and painting. After completing the lighting and ceiling ideations, I met up with Carrie to talk about materials and pull some. After doing so we talked about the spaces and talked about the lighting and ceiling ideation i had been drafting earlier in the day. This included looking for inspiration, lighting systems and also drawing some, and taking current conditions into consideration. After these tasks today, I feel as though I will be more confident going into tomorrow.
Wow! It has been an eventful two days since my last blog post.
Yesterday morning I was invited to tag along to the UK Hospital to walk through the current OR Simulation Lab project EOP is working on. The contractor had some questions about soffits and paint because some things had changed as they were building because of existing conditions of the 12th floor. It was really interesting to see what it was like for the designer and architect I was with to look at the CDs with the contractor and then go look at the same detail physically. When we returned to the office, I desk-hopped around with the architects and talked to them all in depth about the projects they’re working on as a whole, their to-do list for the day for a specific project, and the joys, bores, and stresses of their jobs. I learned a lot about how projects work as they move around a team and around an office and how a project progresses from beginning to end. I also learned that many others in the office had 7 or 8 year undergraduate degrees which was encouraging. Everyone was so nice and open and shared candid advice and opinions with me. I was able to go to lunch with a small group of designers and we got to talk more in-depth about what they do and what EOP is like. When I came back to the office, I sat in on a meeting with the team of designers, the builder, and the developer working on a top-secret local project and it was fascinating to see how those relationships work and how everyone is involved.
Today I had the pleasure of tagging along with a group for another site visit to Danville, KY where we visited a residence currently under construction. The house is an Antebellum-relic and though I don’t know it’s age, I know that it was well over 100 years old. The owners are adding on an addition to the back that is extremely modern and it was really inspiring to see the way that the designers had handled merging the two designs so elegantly. (The back of the house now features a NanaWall project that I just specified for my current studio project which I thought was super cool. It was exciting to see it in person and be able to use it.) We went to the site to talk to the builder who felt there was an issue with the installation of a $50,000 bank of windows, but while we were there, we found a few other inconsistencies that were photo-documented and were written up so that they could be rectified and the house would be back to following the prescribed details. It was a little intimidating to watch the eagle-eyed designers pick out the tiniest things that were wrong or needed to be adjusted in the middle of a construction zone, but I realize that they are incredibly familiar with every detail of the house because they drew it detail-by-detail and they have spent months (years) poring over them. When we returned, I helped my mentor find some specified materials in their library and order the rest of the samples that weren’t available. At the end of the day, an architect I have gotten to know wanted to look at my Revit studio project with me and helped me fix a few things I had been struggling with.
I have overall been very encouraged throughout the first half of my week here at EOP. The job seems intimidating at times, but the cooperation and collaboration between employees makes it seem possible. Today at lunch I talked to a group of architects who said they graduated and had never been taught how to number drawing pages or had never drawn a call-out. One of the interior designers today also was impressed we had written specs in school. One of the younger, recent UK graduate architects who I have been watching work miracles in Revit said that he had no Revit experience before working at EOP. Many of my fears have been quelled and I am honestly finding myself wishing I was graduating now so that I could apply to EOP. I haven’t known these people more than three days but they have made me feel so welcome and I have enjoyed getting to know them and work alongside them/watch them work. EOP has found itself among my top choices for careers post-grad!
Keep an eye out for my resume, EOP! 🙂