As my spring break wraps up and I get back into the swing of school I have been reflecting upon the experiences that where presented to me over the past week. I was fortunate enough to be able to Extern with two phenomenal firms in Chicago, IL. I spent two days at IA (Interior Architects), and then three days at Gensler.
During my time spent at IA I got to see how a larger firm operates. One of the major things that I noticed when I was shadowing people was how connected that everyone was. Even though there was upwards of forty some people in the office, it seemed that they all had very integral parts in all of the projects, or at least knew what was going on in other projects around the office. While there I got to see how IA approaches new clients and tries to gain business with them. Being able to see the various products that where specifically manipulated to show how IA would be the best fit for the client, or presentation techniques and graphic iterations that show the same yet different techniques to the client. The firm seemed to desire a strong relationship, and a very approachable relationship with all of their clients, so that throughout the whole design and build processes there were no if very few questions. I also got to visit a construction site with them, to see how their designs for open plan, collaborative workspaces for office buildings are constructed. The site I got to visit was a pilot space for a confidential corporation so that they could make the transition into the modern world of business.
The other three days that I got to spend at Gensler I got to experience how an architectural cooperation that employs thousands of architects operates. I felt like that same kind of client experience was still there with how personal they make the presentations for the clients and how they try and meet the client’s needs. However the atmosphere was vastly different between the two firms. I think that this came from the shear fact that Gensler has so many more people working for them that it is hard to know everyone who works in the office. Although it was amazing to be able to see the various approaches that were taken upon a multitude of projects, ranging from corporate offices for dog food companies to law offices.
Overall I had a great experience that made me more excited to finish up school on a strong note and get out into the workforce, pushing my ideas and thoughts.