Internship with: Richard Price Architect, Charlottesville, Virginia
I found that the most interesting days involved visiting sites that I was designing for and those times when I was interacting with clients or contractors we were collaborating with. On one of the first days of my internship, Richard and I drove to East High Street where we were conducting a land survey. I enjoyed being able to see exactly where the building I had been working on in Sketch Up would be going, and how the extremely complicated topography of the site required that the building, its fenestrations, and its entrances had to react to their surroundings.
Richard and I also visited his past projects in the neighborhood of River Bluff, a site for which he developed a master plan. This plan was used to introduce tree and ground foliage as well as rain gardens in order to highlight the surrounding landscape; the houses he designed dealt with a steep topographical incline due to the adjacent creek bed. We were able to meet some of the owners and see how the interior finishes were designed and I could later use similar color palettes in 3D models for renderings.
Richard and I traveled to a church site right on the Corner and measured out a massive hole that was cut into the wood in a hallway leading to the main chapel. We used the hole to inspect the foundation of the church as to determine where the structure for an ADA (American with Disabilities Act -ed.) lift would go. Seeing the investigation first-hand was really exciting. I used a tape-measure and sketchbook to determine the location and height of various elements in the hallway.
The difference between school and the ‘real thing’ is summed up quite nicely by one of Richard clients, who said
“…beautiful realities are murdered by bloody facts.” Though we laughed about this, I find this statement truthful in some sense. However, at the same time my job was to stay positive and to keep the creative process churning regardless of what may go not-as-planned.
A project I worked on personally was designing a shed for a backyard. The work ranged from site analysis and schematic design to creating details of the wall, floor and roof connections. I highly enjoyed this process because it involved looking up zoning and building codes for both Charlottesville and the IBC (International Building Code -ed.) in order to determine the program and setback rules. The schematic process taught me about wall and roof framing, from the stud to the sill to the rafter, as well as standard dimensions that affected where I put windows and doors. Even the small scale of a shed showed me that there is an enormous amount of detail and knowledge that goes into designing and building any structure.