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About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

Gaining the perspective of others through working internationally with materials and architects from different parts of the world is fascinating. I feel I have so much to learn from and contribute to these collaborations. I enjoy learning about social-architectural culture as well as material culture. The challenge of balancing global and local traditions is something I would like to explore; celebrating diversity of design but rejecting globalisation and maintaining a strong link with the users.Critical Working with the local community to design and build solutions for social housing refurbishments, I definitely think there will be valuable lessons and to inspire my 6th year work, bring forward into my research and for my future work in practice, helping me to become the socially aware architect that I aim to be. I would love to explore how these experiences could be brought into architectural education, making them more widely known and accessible.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

I had to submit a portfolio of work and a personal statement to explain why I wanted to participate.

Main responsibilities

I took an active role in the collaborative design process alongside my colleagues and the family living in the house we renovated.
I helped to demolish elements of the house, following the decision on the final design.
I helped to design and lay new floors, put up studwork for the new walls, repair a failing structural beam, put up wall panelling, prepared charred timber for the external cladding.

Typical day

Working from 9am-6pm on the construction site. Working with mainly timber construction techniques to improve the living conditions of a family home. We aimed to use as much re-used/ upcyled materials as possible.
Each day, we would eat lunch as a group in the street outside the house. It was served from the back of a van which came from the production centre where the food was cooked. This was a great chance to catch up as a group on how all the different tasks within the house were going.
From 6.30-8pm we would have lectures from relevant architects and researchers.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed working collaboratively with others to improve the standard of living for a family in need of help. They really appreciated our work and it was great to see that we had made a difference. I also really enjoyed the problem-solving, logistical planning and working with my hands to build and create new spaces. I learnt new skills and techniques, and enjoyed the discussions between different teams within the house to solve complicated problems. I also met and worked with a lot of interesting people from all over the world.

Challenging aspects

There were challenging aspects such as when team members didn't take responsibility for their own jobs, leaving them unfinished and trusting that someone else would pick up the slack. There were also a few problems when a lack of communication meant that jobs were done wrong, resulting in inefficiencies and waste.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I used communication skills, problem solving and design skills learnt (in part) from my course.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

It has further confirmed my interest in designing and building, and the practical and social side of architecture. This is something I definitely intend to take into the rest of my studies and my future career choices.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Embrace the opportunity with and open mind. Listen to others as they all have a lot to contribute. Have confidence in your own skills and strengths.

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Form completed: 30 Aug 2017

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