COTE Top Ten for Students Internship Focuses on Net-Positive Design

This summer, Hennebery Eddy has the pleasure of hosting three design interns. In a three-part series throughout the summer, each intern has shared their internship experience and takeaways from their time with the firm. This month, Philippe Bernard, a COTE Top Ten for Students winner and graduate of Laval University, reflects on his time with the firm. Read previous posts by interns Haley here and Jordan here.

AIA COTE Top Ten for Students intern Philippe Bernard
COTE Top Ten for Students intern Philippe Bernard (left) meets with fellow staff members for input on their latest design.

This internship opportunity came at a pivotal moment in my development as a future architect. As a student, I participated in the AIA COTE Top Ten for Students 2019 contest, and our team was the first Canadian contestant to win this international competition! It was excellent news, considering that I was also completing my master’s degree at Laval University in Quebec City. It is thanks to this sustainable design competition that I was put in contact with Hennebery Eddy, an architectural firm also very committed to eco-friendly design. This is a very rewarding experience for me, given the important language adaptation that I have to demonstrate as a French-speaking Canadian. French is my mother tongue, so immersion in an English-speaking country and workplace is very instructive.

Prior to this internship in Portland, I had the chance to complete other work experience in various architectural firms in Quebec. The corporate scale of Hennebery Eddy is very interesting, combining the advantages of a large firm and the welcoming side of a smaller office. It is a firm with significant resources given its size of 65 employees, which offers a stimulating work environment. I really appreciate the attention of all the Hennebery Eddy staff in listening to my questions and comments. Everyone is treated equally, creating a very democratic and pleasant working environment.

The internship program is very well managed and provides as many experiences as possible for each intern. I was very well received by the staff. I did not feel the need to prove myself, but rather that I was joining a strong team. It is a rewarding feeling to be able to contribute to something bigger together. I have been involved in the net-positive committee, an internal office group focused on sustainability and the firm’s “healthy, efficient, and adaptive” design philosophy. In addition to that, they created a tailor-made internship program just for me. I joined a project team that makes use of my skills in energy simulation and passive design that I have developed as part of my academic curriculum and implemented for the AIA COTE Top Ten for Students contest. I have had the chance to participate in all phases of this project, from the first stages of design to the architectural details of finishes.

Philippe Bernard and Hennebery Eddy staff tour the PDX Concourse E Extension
Hennebery Eddy’s summer interns toured the PDX Concourse E Extension job site; Philippe is on the far right.

This internship is also punctuated by several extracurricular activities, such as site visits, retrospectives of projects, lunches with architects, varied conferences, and a multitude of other opportunities to share knowledge and experiences. In addition to work with other interns in the office this summer, I had the chance to meet other interns from Mortenson Construction, a major general contractor. This demonstrates the multidisciplinary openness of the firm and allowed me to expand my contact network with other interns

For the future, my goals are to complete my required internship training hours for architectural licensing in Quebec, finish my architectural accreditation exams in Canada, and probably register with NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) to be able to practice architecture in both Canada and the United States. In any case, I’m going to miss Oregon. I had the chance to visit incredible places through my internship, and I really intend to return to the West Coast one day. I will keep contact with the firm, but it’s hard to say what the future holds!

One thing is certain, I’m going back to Canada with my head full of memories! Merci pour tout et à bientôt Portland!