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Life as an ARC Intern

06.27.14 / Alex Prictoe

Nearing the end of my final co-op here at ARC, I have been given the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened in my last six whirlwind months as an ARCer.  What sticks out to me most about my experience at ARC is the incredible variety of projects that I had the privilege to work on with multiple design teams and consultants, while still remaining a part of the unique studio environment. 

The studio, a central area of the office where I worked with three recent architecture school graduates, acts as a catchall for the projects coming through the office, resulting in a fast-paced yet also lighthearted environment.  Each day a variety of people pass through the studio, offering helpful advice to us - the newly initiated – and sometimes just to grab a cookie and decompress from what I’ve learned is an extremely demanding profession.

I think the most valuable skill I gained from my time in the studio was how to juggle tasks and strike a productive balance between work and play in order to strengthen relationships with coworkers both in and out of the studio.  Every day, I got to work on an exciting project, whether it was our entry into a competition for a new medical city in Taiwan, the final stages for the largest Buddhist Temple outside of Thailand, or a design modification to the iconic Eames chair, there was always something fresh to get wrapped up in.  I could always contribute somewhere, whether it was by creating physical and digital models, preparing presentation graphics for client meetings, or offering feedback during design reviews and small design meetings.

Of all the projects I got my hands on in the office, the Buddhist Temple (NMR Meditation Center) in Raynham, MA has to be the one to impact me the most.  While most of the design work for the building was already completed well before I arrived at ARC, the construction still had a long way to go.  This offered me a fantastic opportunity to see a building over ten years in the making being built right before my eyes, and the result was extraordinary.  I was one of the lucky attendees at the Temple’s recent grand opening ceremony, which turned out to be a truly once in a lifetime experience.  Thousands of Buddhist monks, Massachusetts residents, and Thai citizens from across the world all came together to commemorate the new structure that is covered in gold and marble.  The sense of accomplishment that everyone involved on the project from the beginning must have felt is something I can only imagine, but I can honestly say that it is one of my greatest personal goals to experience it one day for myself.

The time I have spent here over the last six months has been many things, but boring was never one of them.  Everyone at the firm brings their own personalities and methods to the table, and no matter what school of thought they come from or what stage of the profession they are in, everything is valid.  I found the office to be the perfect foil to my first co-op, a small design firm in New York City, and I think it complimented my education at Northeastern University beautifully.  ARC has solidified my desire to pursue becoming a full-fledged architect. So, as I prepare for my final semesters of school, my mind will remain focused on the next step towards a license of my own.

Thank you to everyone at ARC! 

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