Submitted by students, these are previous internship experiences told first-hand.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Architectural Alliance

My name is Hans Harland-Hue and I’m a senior Environmental Design major with a concentration in spatial design. I am interested in Biomimetic Architecture and sustainability. I was an intern at Architectural Alliance (AA) which specializes in both commercial and residential design. I found out about the firm through Owen Van Essen, who just happened to be a client and good friend of President and Founder of AA, Eric Enfield. I sent him an email and was asked to come in to show my work and what skills I want to develop further. I was hired immediately. 

Architectural Alliance is a very small firm, consisting of Eric Enfield (AIA Board member) President and Founder of AA), Hunter Redman(Architect, draftsman, project manager, residence designer), Daniel Lujan (Draftsman and project manager, commercial designer) and Dorrie (receptionist). Because there are so few members, all were given multiple jobs. 

When I started working at Architectural Alliance, I was immediately put to work. My task in the beginning was to do all the filing and archiving of all past projects. Even though it was tiring, it was necessary to understand formats and organization. To keep one's work organized can prevent legal issues with clients and the working body. I had to make floor plans, alternate roof plans, elevations, plumbing and electrical systems. Apart from that, Eric took me around to various sites that AA was working on to make evaluations of the progress and other questions the contractors, interior designers and clients had. He also took me to past works and for some, walked me through them. Jobs with Daniel were delivering plans to the Department of Land Use to be approved for construction. We also went to one private million dollar residence and a Molecular Toxicology lab to record measurements so we could draw it up on AutoCad. I also went to various meetings with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Santa Fe Historic District. 

My biggest project was to design a two room, one bathroom, portal, and veranda cabin for the Kirkpatrick family. This was very exciting since the Kirkpatrick family are multimillionaires and own all kinds of property in Santa Fe. I was amazed that Eric would let me take on such a job for such upscale clients especially since I had to virtually relearn AutoCad. I was not nearly as proficient with the system as I am now.

I definitely have learned AutoCad and I am much more proficient with the program then I once was. I have increased organizational and program management skills. I go with Eric for evaluations at sites and listen in on conversation with various people in the business. It is interesting to see all the connections from various careers that come together to work on one project. However, I believe the most important thing was learning how a real Architecture firm is run. Hunter Redman, an Architect at Architectural Alliance (AA) said that getting her degree does not prepare you to work in a firm, as she just learned a lot of theory. Regardless, obtaining an M. Arch is still highly advised because it allows you to approve drawings and you can design structures over 250,000 dollars. Even spending a month at AA has been a great opportunity because to know what my future will be like is paramount to my decision to pursue this career or not.

To build structures that are inhabitable and to have them identifiable as green and comply with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), that would be a dream. Sustainability is the key to our future. This internship is just a small piece as well as working in a firm but it has taught me the logistics of how a small firm is run. The big picture is how to evolve a firm into a global organization that creates Biomimetic Architecture to try to evolve the world for a cleaner future. Even though Architectural Alliance has not had many sustainable designs or ideas nor have they even heard of Biomimicry, it has pointed me in the right direction to pursue this career path and I am very thankful to of been given this opportunity.