As summer comes to an end, our Portland interns are reflecting on their lessons learned and stand out moments. We caught up with six of them to talk about the great ramen Portland has to offer, why storytelling is important to architecture, and a meaningful hike up Mt. Hood.
Alyanna Subayno came to ZGF after a semester abroad studying architecture in Rome. She is headed back to school to complete her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University.
Cui Wang is a Master of Architecture student entering her final year at University of California, Berkeley. She interned in our Portland office last year.
Hong Xi came to intern at this summer as the recipient of our 2019 scholarship. He is a Master of Architecture II candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Monique Robinson, NOMA, hails from Washington D.C. and is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Morgan State University. She is pursuing a degree in Architecture & Environmental Design.
Samantha Rupp is a three-time intern at ZGF. With previous undergraduate degrees in Interior Design and Urban Design, she is now a second-year architecture student in the master’s degree program at Ohio State University.
Zhiyu Li is a graduate student at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, currently pursuing a Master of Architecture in Urban Design.
(Pictured above, from left to right: Monique Robinson, Samantha Rupp, Cui Wang, Hong Xi, Alyanna Subayno. Photography Credit: Qi Feng. Not pictured: Zhiyu Li)
Describe something new that you learned during your ZGF internship.
Zhiyu: I learned so much during our three days of hands-on Revit training. In my undergraduate experience I had a few opportunities to explore Revit, but not in-depth. The access to an expert and dedicated time to learn the software was appreciated.
Alyanna: I worked on one of ZGF’s largest teams on an aviation project this summer. It taught me how to better communicate drawings and ideas. It was interesting to see how ZGF’s smaller teams all come together to create something cohesive and how important it was to present ideas clearly for that to happen.
Monique: Ask questions! You often to have figure things out and research on your own for school assignments. But the internet doesn’t have the answer to the problems that architects are trying to solve. I learned I needed to seek out the experts and probe into the details of problems while working on projects at the firm.
Cui: The entire process from plans to building projects opened my eyes to the architect’s role as a problem-solver and leader.
What type of assignments did you enjoy working on?
Hong: I was able to stretch my design skills on creative projects this summer. It was interesting to explore innovative solutions and working within design requirements, client constraints, and the limitations of the project.
Samantha: I enjoyed getting to create representations of architectural work. I had the opportunity to do presentations and put together graphics that clients would eventually see. It was exciting to do something so visible.
Alyanna: I supported the team on envelope studies and research for a transportation project. It was a new experience for me to get to zoom in on the more technical side of design.
How did working in the Portland office inspire your work or studies – or how might it influence you in the future?
Monique: I had to take the outcome of a study and put it in the simplest form that everyone could understand. I learned there is a lot of structure necessary if architects want to be great at representing ideas. These hands-on experiences will be important to draw from if I’m trying to express a design intent in the future.
Hong: From mentorships to lunch-and-learn lectures over the past weeks, I was exposed to the idea that architecture is less about working long hours and taking on the hardest work, but more about the accumulation of experience. I’ll continue to work intelligently and efficiently and apply the experiences I’ve accumulated.
Zhiyu: I’ll take with me the best practices for physical space organization and how to organize supplies in a clear way. Even small things like the hierarchy within a digital folder for a project.
Samantha: I’m inspired by the importance of collaboration at ZGF and how I can continue to seek out new ideas. I experienced a lot of crossover of ideas this summer from different practice areas coming together and sharing.
Did you visit any museums, historic landmarks, or parks?
Cui: Yes, the intern group took a day trip to the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood this summer. We spent time exploring waterfalls and being outdoors in a new place. We bonded during an intense hike up the mountain.
What was your favorite day as an intern this summer?
Monique: My favorite part was experiencing the food – especially ramen – all around Portland. I went vegetarian when I arrived in Portland and I’ve had so many more options than I would at home.
Hong: The day we took a hike to Mt. Hood. We pushed each other and encouraged each other to make it to our destination.
Alyanna: I liked going to a previous ZGF project on the University of Oregon campus. We saw their Football Operations Center known as the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. It was inspiring to see a physical project completed and hear the story directly from the designer.
Do you have any interests or hobbies you were also able to explore?
Samantha: Everyone climbs in Portland. It’s easy to go to the rock-climbing gym because it’s so close. It’s been a good way to make friends.
Cui: I’ve been taking pictures for almost 8 years and I had a lot of opportunity to do that here. I took my camera to the office every day to capture my experience. I also have a drone that I got to fly over the University of Oregon project while we were on a tour.