As a second-year architecture student at Drexel University I have experienced both architecture school and interning at JL Architects. When I started interning here in May of my senior year of high school it set up what I thought architecture school was going to be like. Last September when I showed up to Drexel I expected to be thinking about door swings and egress routes. I was completely wrong. Our first project was a cube with different principles including hierarchy, light and shadow, and grid. I was confused by this for my entire first term. Architecture school turned out to be a lot more conceptual than I was expecting. For the first half of my year I was not wanting to let go of the stricter constrains that I had learned through interning. In school, my professors wanted me to be thinking of concepts more than thinking of buildings. Through the various exercises I began to develop concepts based on various principles. I have also learned how to abstract almost anything. Halfway through the year I figured out how to combine the two different worlds. I feel like now I have a better understanding how to add more abstract moments to everyday architecture.
An exciting thing that I did this year was Drexel’s charrette. Our charrette was based in West Philadelphia. Since the site was so close we had the opportunity to visit the site and interact with members of the community. Our project was to redesign a tiny park with a big impact. This showed me a new side of architecture; I learned how beneficial a community based design could be. The people that I interacted with began to get excited that a college student was getting involved in their community, which caused me to want to incorporate more of the community when designing in the future.
Architecture school has taught me many different things than what I was expecting. I am now excited to return to school for my second year, where I can continue to combine design and community involvement.