This summer, Hennebery Eddy has the pleasure of hosting three design interns. In a three-part series throughout the summer, each intern will share their internship experience and takeaways from their time with the firm. This month, Jordan Micham, an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati, describes what he’s been up to during his time with the firm. Read the other posts in this series, by Haley here and Philippe here.
I’ve always been drawn to the West. The dynamic terrain and variety of cultural influences made Portland an appealing destination for someone born and raised in the Midwest suburbs. Prior to starting work as an intern at Hennebery Eddy, I completed three other internships, ranging from small- to large-scale firms. Approaching my final year of my undergraduate studio, I wanted the opportunity to explore a mid-size firm in attempt to find a niche that was less corporate but still tackled more complex projects; Hennebery Eddy’s ensemble of around 65 people was the perfect scenario to do just that. The firm rests in the heart of one of the most vigorously design-oriented communities in America; Portland is a hub for creative innovation. My theme for this summer is to learn from the lifestyle of the anti-conformist creative.
In my studies at the University of Cincinnati, we’ve focused on the conceptual design process, primarily concentrating on human-spatial interaction. Getting involved in the design world through the internship program has helped me gain a better grasp on the industry and has informed my perspective on architecture more toward the concept of creating an engaging blend of form and function while designing within constraints. What they don’t teach you in the classroom is that few clients have the budget for your extreme designs. I’ve learned that architecture is often less about creating an evocative design but more about finding a way to translate the wants and needs of the client into a design that blends form and function while still satisfying the various building constraints.
My exposure around the office has been very broad. I’ve been involved in a variety of design phases, from building physical models to Revit markups, site visits, and conceptual visualization. What was great about my arrival at Hennebery Eddy was the particular attention that was paid to my own priorities. They inquired about what I enjoyed doing, what I felt was my strong suit, and what I hoped to take away from the experience.
I expressed that I wanted more exposure to Revit so I could contribute more as a member of a project team, especially now that most firms require some form of knowledge on the program. They’ve had me doing several tasks in Revit since day one, from conceptual modeling, redlining, generating families, and creating design options. On top of that, I’ve sat on the firm’s Revit Committee, where we are currently working on updating our office-wide Revit template. I also let them know that I perform strongest in the design visualization and presentation process, and I’ve since been involved in generating numerous renderings and graphics, along with building a detailed finished model of Rogue Community College’s Health Professions Center.
What has really set Hennebery Eddy apart from my previous internship experiences is their desire for me to learn and also to truly enjoy my experience. They set up regular check-ins and lunch outings between the interns and different members of the firm and encouraged us to pick their brains with questions about the field. We were even taken out on a social hike to Angel’s Rest in the Columbia River Gorge with the interns at Mortenson Construction. Hennebery Eddy values frequent events like this, as it creates a stronger relationship within the organization and with our partnering companies.
Additionally, they have provided many site visit opportunities, which gave me some exposure to the way architects interact with the construction and project managers in the field. Two site visits really blew me away. One was a project for a confidential corporate client. I’m somewhat of a shoe fanatic, so it was great to be given the chance to see the workflow and how their shoes were built from scratch. Additionally, the sheer scale of the PDX Concourse E Extension was truly incredible and provided the opportunity to observe all the intermingling pieces that work together to make the project happen. My experience as an intern at Hennebery Eddy has truly been one for the books.
Following my term with Hennebery Eddy, I will fly straight from Portland to Beijing, China, where I’ll then travel to a pear orchard in Siyang to construct an interactive installation for a competition that my University of Cincinnati team and I participated in during my previous semester of classes. We were lucky enough to be selected out of 16 teams to represent our university in the next phase of the process. Following our submission, we collaborated with a team from Beijing Jiaotong University to bring our two designs together and were later selected to move forward to the final round, where we will build the design and receive our final evaluation. Following my three weeks in China, I’ll spend a short time in New York City, then return to Cincinnati to complete the final year of my undergraduate degree in architecture.