Summer brings many things: warmer weather, beach days, relaxation… and most importantly, a season spent with our TBA intern. Each summer, our studio selects an intern to assist with various projects — from big-picture charrettes to drafting of details. To close out this summer, we caught up with Taylor, this year’s intern; and Sara and Julie, former interns turned Design Associates, to reflect on their formative experiences.
Current student at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture
One word to describe your TBA intern experience: EDUCATIONAL
Taylor’s internship was probably our most unconventional, meeting just a fraction of our team in person: “Even during a pandemic, I felt this experience was more than worthwhile,” he remarked as he headed back to his final year at Notre Dame. He notes that his favorite project was contributing to the research and design of a new two-story house and accessory structure with an expansive hardscape. Since the project was in the schematic design phase, Taylor was especially helpful in analyzing proportions in the project’s plan, and being an extra hand to contribute sketches. “I also learned a lot about Feng Shui for that project. I had never even heard of it before, but it’s such an interesting concept behind design,” he says.
When asked what he is most passionate about learning, he enthusiastically replied, “Why, [architect Karl Friedrich] Schinkel of course. He’s the inspiration behind my Luminarts Fellowship” (which Taylor was recently awarded!). Taylor explained he’s interested in how to incorporate lessons learned through architectural travels into the design process. “Schinkel comes into the conversation because he [traveled Europe] throughout his life. His travels and work are both well-documented, so an analysis of [this] is possible. There are clear shifts in his design process after his travels, and I want to understand how he got to the conclusions of the buildings he designed.”
Similar to Schinkel, Taylor spent a year in Italy with the ND Architecture program. “I have already seen what he saw for part of his journeys. Now, I just need to continue on his journey through Europe to see all that he saw; and draw what he drew to put myself in the best position possible to fully understand what changed in his design process,” says Taylor.
Current TBA Design Associate
One word to describe your TBA intern experience: ENRICHING
Sara joined TBA in summer 2019 as an intern while pursuing her Master of Architecture from USC. Following completion, she returned as a Design Associate. “There are more responsibilities, which I enjoy. I’m looking forward to even more challenging tasks that will help shape my path ahead,” she says.
Born in Manipal, India and with several years as a licensed architect in Bangalore under her belt, Sara is grateful for the support that TBA provided as she navigated work life in a different country. “My internship at TBA helped me expand my knowledge in the design field, improve software skills and work ethic. It was a great way to transition… and TBA certainly made it an easy one.”
Now, as a full-time staff member, Sara still fondly remembers one internship project: a 21st-century Spanish style home. “That was one of my favorite projects to work on, mainly because I got to be a part of it from the schematic stage. It was also my first time working on a project that was completely done in Revit. I took everything I learned back to school, especially to my Revit classes!”
In addition to the professional experience she has gained, Sara has learned the importance of maintaining her passion for hiking and travel outside of the office. “Apart from of course learning to detail and draft, TBA taught me how important it is to maintain a work-life balance — taking the weekends off to rejuvenate,” she says. Where’s next on her bucket list? “Waterfall rappelling in New Zealand… and probably a Euro trip!”
Current TBA Interior Architecture Design Associate
One word to describe your TBA intern experience: OPPORTUNITY
“I feel grateful for the experiences here… I was able to thrive and succeed during school and after graduating.” Julie Luu says. Now a Design Associate on the Interior Architecture team, her impact lives on: primarily through her expertise in creating organization systems. “While interning, my favorite task was creating a new system to organize our archived files. We no longer have a sense of fear when asked, ‘Where is that project from 15 years ago?’”. In addition, Julie took on the massive undertaking of organizing our materials library, which houses endless samples of stone and hardware, mouldings, hardware, finishes and more.
Julie’s unique contributions to our projects today include her Photoshop renderings, where she utilizes linework from Revit as a base, and then creates a series of layers to add dimension and color, sometimes even mimicking watercolor work. “I unexpectedly learned to render digitally using Photoshop here. Although I had basic skills using the program, I never rendered anything as detailed and beautiful – all credited to team effort and Tim’s keen eye in details,” she says.
As she continues to grow her expertise, she thinks back to how her internship experience shaped her current role. “It helped me focus on my strengths. If I was good at something, TBA supported me by assigning tasks that I was good at. The assignments aren’t routine… and I continue to learn and implement my creative strategies to produce the work.” Her favorite assignment today? “…Producing visual presentations that can help clients have a better understanding of TBA’s design intentions.”