Design intern Peter Harrison joined Hennebery Eddy Architects this summer from Utah State University, where he is earning a Bachelors of Interior Design. Passionate about sustainable design, he plans to relocate to Portland, Ore., after graduation. Below, he shares his path to studying interior design and highlights from his internship.
I’ve grown up with a strong passion for design and sustainability, which led me to explore the field of architecture and design. During high school, I took an internship course where I shadowed architects, marketers, landscape architects, and interior designers at MHTN Architects in Salt Lake City, Utah. This experience confirmed my desire to pursue a design degree and attend the highly acclaimed interior design program at Utah State University.
At Utah State, I have gained a wide variety of skills, both design and technical. My coursework has included commercial and residential design, materials, Revit and AutoCAD, architectural systems and code knowledge, sustainable design, as well as a strong emphasis on the fundamental principles and elements of design. I expanded my understanding of sustainable design by participating in the Utah State student chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the requirements for my program is that I gain professional field experience by completing an internship between my junior and senior year. Since I care deeply about sustainable design, I applied for internships in Portland, Oregon, a natural choice for this market sector. I knew I wanted to be at a mid-sized commercial architectural firm where I could see myself working after graduating.
The core values of Hennebery Eddy resonated with what I was looking for in a firm. Hennebery Eddy has done work in a wide variety of market sectors and has won several project awards for design and sustainability. One project that caught my attention was the Yellowstone National Park Youth Campus. The design proposes a campus of Living Buildings – the first ever in a national park. I was inspired by this forward-thinking approach to design as it is exactly the kind of perspective I wanted for my internship. My first day at Hennebery Eddy Architects was both overwhelming and exciting. My internship supervisor, Nick Byers, introduced me to the everyone in the firm and explained the details of what I would be doing this summer. We established my internship goals, which include: being involved in environmental aspects of design, utilizing Revit, Photoshop, and InDesign, and networking with a wide variety of people at the firm and in the design industry.
After a few weeks of being at Hennebery Eddy, I had a valuable learning opportunity to work on a small redesign of a commercial lobby space for a long-time client and friend of the firm. Located just a few blocks away, I went on a site visit to take existing photos and conduct field measurements. Working alongside my project architect, Meg Matsushima, I sat in on a client meeting, selected finishes, improved my skills and abilities in Revit, and completed a set of construction documents. The project had a short timeline and it was very satisfying to see it completed. A takeaway from this process was the importance of documenting every specific detail and how best to communicate design decisions with contractors.
I have had many opportunities to interact with architects and interior designers in the firm during work events and casual lunches. This has allowed me to glean advice and listen about their professional experience in the architecture and design world. I’ve also been on two site visits, one that was nearing completion and another for Clackamas Community College that is in the construction phase. The office culture at Hennebery Eddy has been very welcoming and I’ve enjoyed participating in many events like Lunch & Learns, happy hours and coffee presentations with product reps. In addition, I’ve been working on a sustainability-focused research project to better understand the environmental and health impacts of chemicals in materials on the red list, a list developed by The International Living Future Institute to meet the criteria of the Living Building Challenge. This project aligns with my professional and personal goals of broadening my knowledge in sustainable and truly net-positive design. During my last week, I will present and discuss my research with the Hennebery Eddy team.
Outside of the office, I’ve immensely enjoyed exploring downtown and Portland’s many eclectic neighborhoods. I have spent a lot of time down by the waterfront and at the weekly Portland State University Farmer’s Market. The city has a plethora of excellent food options and I can honestly say I’ve had some of the best vegan food ever here! I’ve enjoyed the beautiful summer weather, including time spent at the Oregon coast and kayaking on Hagg Lake. I love that that many people in Portland are health- and environmentally conscious; the city is very bike friendly and there’s a ban on plastic bags as recycling and composting is encouraged.
My internship experience has been rewarding and I’m grateful to be at Hennebery Eddy Architects. I’ve enjoyed learning about the process of architecture and design and felt well prepared due to my educational background, and am excited to return to Portland following graduation.