Architectural Trial by Fire

My six-month internship at Centerbrook Architects proved essential to my architectural education. The internship not only complemented my coursework, it also expanded upon that preparation by incorporating the real life consequences of dealing with colleagues, budgets, and clients. The collaborative atmosphere of firm work – between client, designers, and consultants – instilled a tangible appreciation for the integral role teamwork plays in architecture. Because of these experiences, and many others, my architectural education is far richer.

Centerbrook offered something more than a typical internship. I was part of the Centerbrook team. From the get-go, I assumed responsibilities in more than a dozen projects that covered the entire range of the design process. My first assignment was rendering an addition to the Cheney Library through repeated sketching atop computer-generated perspectives and then to compare those renderings with elevations. It is no exaggeration to say that the clients were thrilled.

On other projects I was presented existing conditions and constraints – legal, historical, logistical – and charged with rendering those graphically. Sometimes I created various options for floor plans, presentation styles, or façade studies from which a senior architect would choose. Even design on the smallest scale had its merits. For the Princeton faculty housing, for example, I helped to develop details such as thresholds, door and window units, and custom casework. Research projects for façade studies revealed new applications for thermal control; and material finish choices demanded in renderings familiarized me with product research and brands.

From discussions with classmates, I am convinced that my experience at Centerbrook far exceeded the standard internship. The firm’s dedication to an apprentice architect’s education –learning the capacity of design from conception to completion – has provided an opportunity rarely found in just one place.

Molly Hubbs worked as an intern at Centerbrook last year from June to December as a requirement for her Masters of Architecture from the University of Texas, Austin. Her command of digital design software, such as Revit and SketchUp, plus her diligence and cheerful demeanor ensured that she was much in demand by design teams. She made valuable contributions to a number of projects, among them a new academic laboratory building at Southern Connecticut State University and a master plan for the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Examples of her computer renderings are included here.