An internship to look back on, by Yao Yu
The reason I joined
I decided to join WeCreate Studio as their professional work coincides with my personal interest. Back in September 2021, upon looking at my past experiences, I realised I had enjoyed volunteering both locally and overseas for my own learning and exposure. Through these experiences and being able to observe first-hand how a building can impact the less privileged communities, it made me wonder if there were any architecture companies that focused on working with the less privileged communities. Upon researching architecture companies that focus on community-based projects, I came across WeCreate Studio and you could say, the rest is history.
What fascinated me about the company was their positioning as an architecture firm that cares. In other words, they placed more emphasis on the impact of their designs rather than just the mere pursuit of design aesthetics. Truly, it was a decisive factor that made me want to join the team. Moreover, despite the firm being established only in recent years, the impact created was seemingly far more reaching, more than what I thought was possible.
Learnings beyond my expectations
On the first day, I entered the office with the thought that I would be required to immediately begin drafting out floor plans and architectural drawings. Additionally, I believed that I had to prepare for the imminent countless sleepless nights for the work and other tasks such as printing out the floor plans. Little did I know, I would be able to take a more proactive and hands-on role with the projects.
An unexpected learning from this internship would be learning how to collaborate and more specifically, how to communicate with other partners from different companies and working fields. I also had the opportunity to understand the nitty gritty aspects of coordinating efforts from multiple stakeholders to get different tasks completed on time. I learnt this while liaising with our main contractor to collate the necessary documents to apply for FSC (Fire Safety Certificate) to meet the project milestone. For this, I was given the opportunity to liaise with officers from CORENET and SCDF. Never did I expect a company to trust their interns enough for such a pivotal task and I truly appreciate the opportunity given.
Another relatively unexpected learning was how much I learnt about the fire code. Through the many projects I was involved in, I was practically a sponge in learning the different authorities’ guidelines with regards to a building’s fire safety. This led me to realise that, as an architect, we need to have a good understanding of the various codes to ensure that we not only design safely, but are also better equipped to advise our clients on the designs. After all, this is what an internship experience ought to be like. That is, I have learnt so much more than what I would have been able to had I only studied within the four walls of the classroom.
Yet, even with these learnings, I also hope that the different authorities and architects would communicate more and establish a more intimate partnership in the future. As an individual company amongst the government agencies, only so much can be done to ensure smooth communication between the authorities, which operate in the same industry. This leads to architects having to spend the wee hours of the morning during submissions. But doing so has also taught me the importance of planning my time better with buffers for unforeseeable events.
Apart from architecture-related work, I also had the chance to dabble in our website user experience design and content creation for our social media. This came as a pleasant surprise as I learnt more than what I initially envisioned. With the guidance from Qi Wei, our Business Development & Marketing Manager, as well as my senior Michelle, I learnt the importance of maintaining a level of consistency in typeface and positioning. Surely, this will benefit me in creating my future portfolio, presentation boards and slides.
Highlights of my internship
Of the two highlights of my internship, the first entails the creation of the model for our KeJu (A Singaporean Hakka Village) (See photos below). With the model being eventually used by the team as part of the presentation to the client, it made the model making journey a memorable one. On the personal side of things, this decision also affirmed my skills that I did not think were presentable enough for the client.
Doing it on my own while my teammates played more of a guidance and encouraging role, I learnt what I had to look out for. To me, that was a moment I could indeed, feel proud of both the process and product.
As for the second highlight, I assisted in the design stage of our corporate gift that included tote bags and post-it notes. This improved my understanding of Adobe Photoshop, which would undoubtedly come in handy in the future. Specifically, I learned to appreciate how minor details have the ability to greatly affect the overall design. An example would be to ensure equal distance between the image and the boundary and magnifying text such that it is visible enough once printed. At the end of the day, when we received the actual tote bags and prepared to send them out, it felt fulfilling to see the fruits of the design process that underwent several iterations.
Apart from improving the technical skills and knowledge of using the relevant softwares to complete the design, through the design process, I also learned how to better explain and pitch my designs to the team.
I wish my internship was longer
I wish I had more time to improve my hand drawings and learn how to better use it as a documentation style for interviews, observations and even for architecture drawings and documentations. Additionally, my internship experience has made me realise the importance of good writing for both internal and external presentations. One thing that I had realised is how the act of communicating in a concise and precise manner can play a highly important role and I have much to learn in mastering this skill.
My internship was truly an eye-opening experience and was more than what I had expected. Through this experience, not only have I learned about architecture-related skills, I also learned life skills such as communicating with others and being able to better express my own thoughts and opinions.
Do you have a passion for architecture and people or are you looking for an internship that's both rewarding and fulfilling? Look no further, write in to us at email@example.com