Month 5 – The Final Stretch

It’s been a whopping 5 months since I started this internship – 5 months. That roughly translates 560 hours, 33600 minutes and 2106000 seconds of designing, publishing and filing the necessary documents to help make the GF55 machine tick.

All in all, it’s been an absolutely surreal experience – I’ve definitely learnt a lot and the whole internship has exceeded my expectations. For instance, I’ve been given more responsibility than I anticipated. The partners of the firm and the people I worked with trusted me with a lot more tasks and granted me with a lot more independence than I expected. And although this is something I was slowly eased into, it was a surprise nonetheless.

Furthermore, I didn’t anticipate how welcoming my co-workers were. Considering this was my first experience in a professional office, I wasn’t sure about what to expect of workplace ethics and its social structure. In the end, this proved to be no difficult task. Of course, this was helped by the office parties and the occasional ‘happy hour’ on Fridays, but the co-workers mentioned at the end of the internship that it was a pleasure having me in the office – they were surprised how fast it went!

The internship has especially allowed me to improve on my digital abilities as an architect – not only skill-wise, but also in terms of efficiency. It’s one thing to learn how to use a computer program to design, model and render a project but it’s another thing to do it under time constraints, which were ever-present during my time at GF55. As a result, the ability to work efficiently was something I was definitely able to improve on and is something that will definitely help my with school projects and deadlines in the future.

In my last month in New York, I’ve been able to go out and visit the last few bits that were on my list: not only was I able to visit various pieces of architecture and see Long Island, one of New York’s borough, I was able to attend a lecture by famous architect Bjarke Ingels. As head of the Bjarke Ingels Group, he is arguably the most influential architect of the last ten years and is someone who’s work I’m deeply inspired by. Watching him present various projects at Columbia University was an amazing experience and one that I definitely won’t forget.

Overall, this internship in New York has helped me to realise that I’m not ready yet for this profession – and I’m ok with that. More importantly, though, it’s helped to convince me even more of my decision to pursue this amazing practice.

Ingo Aelbers

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