The Intern: Part I

 Tuesday, 22nd October 2013

David Weir Architects

Mosman Park, Western Australia, Australia

Today was my first day as an intern at an architectural firm. I had a basic idea of what to expect - my interview was taken between gathering signatures for a development application - but outside of what I've been taught at university, not a clue.

I got to the office about half an hour early. Except no one was there yet. Good start.

First job of the day: organise project documents. Not enthralling but absolutely essential for a well-oiled engine that is architecture.  Picked up a method of organisation for projects on the fly, either in digital or paper form. That sticky note now resides in my notebook; definitely something I'll attempt in the future.

Organisation took a break when an unexpected meeting occurred. Sitting in on a pair who were discussing vendor arrangements with David for a project (Project A). Discussed their needs against what was available and what could be arranged according to the current revision of the floor plans. Overall a somewhat brief meeting. Probably will be engaging with them in the near future.

After the meeting, a design problem cropped up. A few fixtures on some of the sliding doors on a residential project currently under construction (Project B)  came back as unfit for purpose. A workaround was found but needed some calculations and drawings to submit to the fabricators to continue work - as in, "How much off this door did we need to cut off?" Half an hour later, came back with some drawings based off supplier products with measurements and details. A solution was found, an email was sent to the fabricators, and an architect was happier than before.

After solving fixture issues and caffeine cravings, we got stuck into some Schedule writing for an upcoming residential renovation project (Project B) . Learned a little bit about the requirements of the architect throughout various stage. I was not aware of the amount of detail that we had to go through in order to satisfy requirements. In saying that, I'm extremely glad that we do. Identifying the small things such as waste drainage covers and what paint to use on the exterior eaves will prevent large problems in the future. They seem like trivial nuances, but that's why people come to architects. This is what we do.

Lunch time!

Came back to the office to complete some more scheduling. I found out that I was a rookie at Excel and proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes fixing my mistakes. Finished up as artists came in for a meeting to discuss plans concerning Project A . A somewhat curious name that turned out to be great for both parties concerned. Looking out for more of this in the future.

It would not be a day in the office without some glorious AutoCAD work. Constant finicky movements during the development design phase that are much needed. Positioning. Rotating. Flipping. Nothing new from those late nights at university, only different in the sense that you can't spend days on this. Deadlines are much more extreme in the real world. Clients don't care about other projects that you have to work on.

Nearing the end of the day. Set up a new email for the workstation computer, assisted in painting chalkboard paint on a door, and sat in on another meeting with Project A  collaborators. This time, I had some input, and didn't just sit there and observe. Very much like a studio desk crit; instead of your work, it's everyone's work.

I didn't take any photos today, as most of it was spent in the office. That will soon change with everything that's coming up. I can only say that all of this is nothing short of exciting.

 Next time: I build structures out of pallets. Site visits. Working hard.