Architecture is often described as the profession that makes one the ‘Jack of All Trades.’ The intensive course of five years is a boot camp that touches every little aspect of this profession on a level of conceptualization and theory. Going to site visits, doing in-depth documentation of structures, reading and understanding government-laid rules, learning to look at the world through a lens that focuses on design decoding, and visualizing projects fusing creativity and practicality, students experience the course with starry eyes and some with burnt-out physical and mental health in addition. Architecture education during college heavily deals with ideas and the futuristic possibilities of projects, sidelining the execution processes; architecture internships, on the other hand, open a roadmap to the knowledge of the actual working of buildings that are planned, involving documents from the governing bodies.

The process of finding a studio for the internship that resonates with one’s design principles frames the most crucial part and involves meticulous research. Before applying for the intern role, going through the job specifications helps the student collect specific points and curate a presentation to explain their portfolio, concentrating on strengths and identifying their weaknesses. It is impractical to assume that every person is well versed in particular softwares or is excellent with communication. Organizing the points to present in the interview helps one navigate their learning map for the upcoming internship months smoothly.

Architecture Internships - Sheet1
Photo of a student intern at an architectural firm_©https://domusstudio.com/student-intern/

Workflows in workplaces

Architecture firms do not fit into closed boxes. Every office works using different workflows to ideate processes involved in the design and construction areas. Work is often assigned to teams handling one or more projects. During the internship, it is expected that the intern gets to be a part of various processes like concept development, site visits, client meetings, coordination with teams, working drawings, presentation drawings, liasoning, 3D modeling, progressive project presentations, and post-production of architectural visualizations, all under the guidance of senior architects and interior designers. Being a part of an efficient team helps one to get a peek at the workings of the industry closely.

Working in an architectural internship also helps one master certain softwares that the architecture school faculties usually neglect; developing a swift hand on software requires lots of practice, and working in an office equates to working on hundreds of revisions of particular drawings, chasing deadlines until perfection is attained, which ultimately hones one’s software skills. Time management and organizational skills come in handy in achieving most work goals.

Research for design development

Most architectural studios often take over immense research work to adhere to while designing projects. Working on research and filtering information to make presentations is a skill that develops during the internship, and it plays a pivotal role in one’s thesis and every future design opportunity. Some offices participate in presenting seminars for communities, and being a part of those presentations helps with developing communication skills.

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Design discussion_©https://baliworkgroup.com/architecture-internships/junior-architect-architectural-studio/

Coordination

An architect’s role compels one to communicate profoundly using language that brings everyone on the same page. Every design and execution process requires various teams of consultants and clients to work together and produce drawings and renderings. Presenting design presentations on a team call, observing site demands, and helping the senior designers make decisions, providing them with minute details one has worked on, helps develop a sense of responsibility and confidence to confront the people on site.

Deadlines

An architectural internship takes one out of a blurry comfort zone to a world that follows strict deadlines and promises. To sustain in a competitive and fast environment, it is essential to realize that most times, the efficiency of interns might not be sufficient to meet deadlines regularly, due to which a stretch in working hours is typically expected; an ideal 9-5 work life might not be feasible in most cases. Although, it is vital to take care of one’s mental health by trying to strike a work-life balance. Seeking help from colleagues whenever needed is an important stepping stone in carving out one’s place in the workplace environment.

Architecture Internships: An Opportunity to Learn and Grow

Importance of communication skills during design meetings_©Creative Commons CC0 via rawpixel.com

To make the most of the internship, one has to switch to the mindset of learning to take responsibility, be resilient, and make an effort to stay calm in overwhelming situations, take notes of every new thing learned, and experiment with presentations of drawings, case studies, renderings when given a chance, bring fresh perspectives to the table during design meetings with seniors, make mistakes and learn from them, be updated with new softwares and artificial intelligence tools to make one stand out of the crowd and help accelerate workflows.

Overall, an architectural internship serves as a fully occupied platter for students to test their skills on. It is an opportunity to wander through the complications and seriousness of design processes while taking baby steps toward incoming responsibilities after graduation. It guarantees a deep dive into exciting processes like material selection and bill of quantities, which are not adopted in-depth in college projects. Internships often bless students with lifelong connections and mentorships, depending on the people one meets at the firm; it is a short rollercoaster ride providing an adrenaline rush and a possible culture shock. It might be hectic and uncomfortable initially, but one can surely try their best to achieve their intended goals and prepare for the demanding professional world the future awaits.

References
  1. Images/visual mediums

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

  1. admin (2019). Student Intern. [online] Domusstudio Architecture. Available at: https://domusstudio.com/student-intern/ [Accessed 29 Sep. 2023].
  2. admin (2022). Junior Architect Intern for an Architectural Studio. [online] Bali Work Group. Available at: https://baliworkgroup.com/architecture-internships/junior-architect-architectural-studio/ [Accessed 29 Sep. 2023].
  3. Creative Commons CC0 (2019). Free Images : job, conversation, White Collar worker, employment, office, technology, learning, sitting, room, collaboration, Interior design, student, interview, furniture, meeting, teacher, desk, Businessperson 3500×2083 – rawpixel.com – 1559499 – Free Stock Photos – PxHere. [online] pxhere.com. Available at: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1559499 [Accessed 29 Sep. 2023].
Author

Rutuja is an inquisitive architect and a sustainability enthusiast; she loves to decipher the languages of built spaces and takes an interest in storytelling through photographs and poetries.