Internship at JPDA, in Brooklyn

I went to New York for the first time on February 6th, 2018. Although I already had a lot of expectations about the city, the purpose of this trip was to visit some family members in New Jersey. When I arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport, I immediately felt a connection with this place I have never visited before. And I confirmed my suspicion.

On the next day, we went to visit the New Museum and eat a delicious cupcake at Little Cupcake Bakeshop. Then we went for a walk on the streets of Soho. Then and there I knew I had to come back. I fell in love with the city’s amazing dynamic and its cultural diversity. That was when I started my research for possible architecture studios where I could apply for a position. That was when I found the Architects-US program.
But before explaining all the process until I got my J1 visa, I shall introduce myself.
My name is Sofia and I’m a Portuguese architect. I studied at the University of Coimbra, where I finished my Master’s degree in March 2016. My passion for Architecture was developed from a young age. I’ve always had an interest in artistic creation, being fine art, sculpture or moving pictures.

The influence of my artistic skills alongside the knowledge acquired through the study of fundamental architecture courses made me realize that Architecture is a multi-sensorial experience. Sound, temperature, texture and smell are embedded in all my projects, especially on my Master Thesis, “Architecture for the Blind: the aesthetic experience of housing”.
For a while, I worked for an architecture studio in Porto, developing detailed design and technical design for several projects. In March 2017, I started working at DoisArquitectos, in Aveiro, where I made my professional internship. For a year and three months, I developed feasibility studies, 3d modeling and rendering, construction documents and detail design amongst other things. In June 2018, I decided I should try an international work experience because I believed that it would be a plus to my future endeavors as an architect.
So I started working as a freelancer and started doing my professional portfolio. I contacted the Architect-US team for the first time on November 18th, 2018. I was interviewed by Jordan Parnass ( from JPDA in Brooklyn) on December 17th and he asked me if I wanted to make part of the team. I happily accepted his offer, because I was already a huge fan of his work and I identify myself with the architectural thought that’s behind his designs.
The process after my confirmation was very fast. In less than two months after the interview, I am already packing to go to New York. I thought that the process would take longer and would be harder for me, but Janis and Patricia from the Architects-US team helped me during all this time, answering my questions almost immediately. Even the Embassy appointment went super well because they provided me with all the documents I needed.
I am going to New York tomorrow. The goal of this experience is self-improvement. I believe that the theoretical knowledge acquired during my studies and the practical skills developed during my internships are just the starting point to the intellectual capacity I wish to develop as an architect. And JPDA is the perfect place for this new beginning.


Sofia Melo


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