In the summer of 2005 I started my first co-op at a small architecture firm on the Southcoast of Massachusetts.
I had been looking forward to this day since the age of six–the dress clothes, the professional demeanor, the start of my career–it’s weird, but I always dreamed of my thirties. And here was my first co-op, the beginning.
By luck or fate the firm was run by two women who identified with my young ambition and gender. Challenging me from the start I was involved with everything from competition entries to construction details. Then one day I had my break, I was asked to design a stair. Seizing the opportunity to impress I sketched a series of ideas and presented to the team. But to my surprise the principal did not react as hoped. Something was missing, a conviction, and she asked, “well what does the stair want to be?”
Years later I still ask that question every day, what does the stair want to be? The answer is never isolated; there are circumstances and proclivities to frame the design. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was no different from that stair and co-op was my tool to answer the question “what did I want to be?” Returning from that first co-op it was apparent that my classmates and I were no longer the same. As my colleague Blake is noticing our individual experiences start a differentiation, or more appropriately a process of self-discovery. While I loved my first job I pushed myself to try something new the following summer. I sampled a big firm, a small firm, the East coast, and the West coast; each time learning something new about myself. I enjoy working with the co-op’s that come through the office and never forget to ask, “well what do you think it should be?” And while still under thirty I now approach my career with the confidence of experience.
We had a great time celebrating our partnership with YouthBuild Boston, as well as toasting the completion of their newly renovated headquarters located on 27 Centre St. in Roxbury, MA. A BIG thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate. We had a number of people from YouthBuild Boston as well as youth who participate in the program. If you would like to find out more about YouthBuild Boston and their commitment to the community – please click here.
Every morning when I take the orange line to work from Northeastern’s campus, I run into my fellow architecture classmates.
We’re heading to co-op: an internship program that all Northeastern students participate in instead of taking classes for a semester. (Northeastern’s co-op program.) On the train we catch up on our different jobs and talk about what the work day has in store. We’ve been in class with each other for five years and have even traveled to Germany together for a semester, but for the next four months we’ll be having our own unique experiences that will shape us in different ways.
Many students see co-op as a way to “test out the waters” in a certain profession before they graduate with a degree. This still applies to architecture majors, but it’s only a small part of why co-op is so important for us. Co-op has shown me that some things just can’t be taught in school. At Fennick | McCredie, I’ve been able to visit construction sites, participate in meetings with clients and consultants and help prepare construction drawings. It’s also been wonderful having mentors that are willing to spend time teaching me the ins and outs of the profession. Whether it was Judy telling me that, “good architects are not just designers but managers of people,” or Scott sitting with me for hours at a time teaching me how a building is put together – I now have a greater understanding of what it means to be an architect. (Reverse mentoring at FMA.)
At different firms across the country, my classmates are gaining their own insights in the field. When we return to classes for our last semester as undergrads, we’ll bring with us this new knowledge – and we’ll learn from each other. I’m grateful to have been able to combine professional experience with my education, and I look forward to seeing how it shapes the rest of my career.
On Friday, May 18th, 2012, the exuberance of community was in the air when over 550 children from Mullen Hall Elementary participated in a day of service learning throughout the Falmouth community. A handful of kids lent their helping hands to Nancy Parmentier of Groundworks Landscape Architecture, the landscape architect of FMA’s new housing project, the Schoolhouse Green (Teaticket) Apartments located in Falmouth, MA. Groundworks Landscape Architecture organized the project and donated materials.
The sprouting enthusiasm of these youngsters gave a new life to the Schoolhouse Green’s nascent landscape. But Nancy notes that the greatest reward of the day was the animated interaction between the children and the residents of the Schoolhouse Green Apartments. A great job and many thanks to all that helped out. The landscape looks beautiful, and the spirit of the day – immeasurable.
East Boston’s 1893 Atlantic Boiler Works, one of the last waterfront structures that recalls its district’s maritime history, is threatened to be demolished.
The neighborhood was once a thriving marine industrial area with wharf, docks, and piers lining the waterfront’s edge. These once ubiquitous structures are now almost gone, replaced by condominium, shopping malls and parks.
Boston Towing, a harbor tugboat operating company, owns Atlantic Boiler and is one of the last water dependent businesses in the area. Recently the Fire Department required them to bring the building up to code, and from Boston Towing’s standpoint – demolishing the building costs less than spending the estimated $750K-1M to fix it.
The community is looking for ways to save this building. Given the short period of time (demolition permit deadline is September 10, 2012), options are running out. The 3 strategies being discussed to save the building are:
1. Change the zoning boundary of the building: It can function as something other than marine/ water related industry. This will make the property more valuable to develop; however, it wouldn’t necessarily save the structure.
2. Apply for the landmark status: This will protect the building from demolition; however, the landmark status may put restrictions on the alteration of the facade making it harder to develop the property.
3. Lease the space to nearby marinas and extend harborwalk into the property: This potentially would require the owner to maintain the property, which they are not interested in the first place.
What are your ideas to save this building? Have you faced a similar issue? For inquiries or suggestions – please contact Scott Hamwey at firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Brauner at email@example.com
Great wine vineyards and great clay earth go together.
In May, Deborah went to Chianti, Italy (near Florence) to observe the production of terra cotta panels for the Logan Airport Rental Car Facility project. Terra cotta – which translates from Italian as “baked earth” – will be formed as façade panels to be cast into 50’ tall, 11’ wide precast concrete wall sections. This will be the first application in America of the innovative construction technique of casting terra cotta in concrete.
Here’s a snapshot of what she experienced – Deborah particularly admired the expressive, mouth-like clay extrusion molds. What do you think? Do they look like mouths to you?
Our office expansion is underway. In May, we were listed as one of the nation’s top 100 fastest growing inner city businesses by the Initiative for Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune Magazine. With all this growth, we are in need of more space, so our studio space is currently in the process of expanding. Check out our progress. As Abraham Maslow said, “You will either step forward into growth, or you will step back into safety.” At FMA, we are definitely looking forward.
It is both humbling and inspiring that the most junior of our office are able to teach the most senior.
Learning is always encouraged at the Fennick McCredie studio. At the initiative of younger project designers Ashley and Dan, a new, bi-weekly Software Series was implemented where we have a short tutorial during lunch on the Adobe Design Software Programs – InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. While attending the InDesign tutorial last week, which was given by our ambitious and software-savvy interns, Eric and Blake, I was impressed by the quality and relevance of the content. It is both humbling and inspiring that the most junior of our office are able to teach the most senior. In addition to these software series presentations, we also receive a weekly quick-tip relating to what we’ve learned.
Check out this one Blake sent out today!
This inverted mentoring is just a small piece of our office culture that encourages knowledge and idea sharing. Talent bubbles up everywhere in the studio – how can we capture it, share it? Check out the nicely designed poster Eric made for our Software Series Forum in InDesign set as our banner image.
Learning has no pre-disposed boundary in age, background, or educational level. Knowledge is meant to be embraced, regardless of the source as long as it’s good stuff! As a wise Chinese proverb puts it, “It’s a blessing when one can live until an old age and learn until an old age!”