6 Month Internship Program

Name: Lindy Sexton
Title: Outreach Coordinator
Organization: McCamant & Durrett Architects
Email: lindy.sexton@cohousingco.com
Phone Number: 530-265-9980
Website: www.cohousingco.com

 

 

The intent of the internship is to give an architect the opportunity for professional growth while they contribute to a studio doing cutting-edge design work.  Unlike school, you will be contributing to the completion of real projects and unlike the majority of jobs open to recent graduates, this internship provides a much wider array of experiences.  In this internship you would be an activist and organizer, as well as, an architect. The internship is not “limited” like typical entry jobs are, nor is it hypothetical like school. You’ll do a little of everything, from design programs to design to construction drawings to construction administration and land use planning, all in the context of community design as a basis to building a viable and sustainable society. We design Cohousing communities, affordable housing, and town planning.

 

We take the internship and the growth of the intern very seriously.  Interns learn specific design information and techniques and develop skills not readily accessible to someone fresh out of school, or typical architectural practices, such as participatory design and sustainable architecture in the production of inexpensive multi-family housing.  An internship at McCamant & Durrett is an opportunity to participate in an office with a distinct social agenda — promotion of community, creating more sustainable buildings, and contribution to the human quality of the built environment.  “If it doesn’t work socially why bother”, is our mantra. It turns out if you can make it work socially, then cooperation will allow other goals like sustainability to more readily fall into place.  Within the MDA framework there is opportunity for interns to explore their individual interests and their role in the fields of architecture, planning, and environmental design. We have also
 been doing more urban design of late.
 

Design philosophy

 

It is our aim always to honor natural resources and to facilitate environmental design of the highest standard possible.  We strive to make the buildings and environments beautiful and to employ energy and resource-efficient building techniques.  We specify low- or non-toxic materials. And just because we are designing state-of-the-art housing does not mean that it is okay if the roof leaks — construction and architecture are one.  In the end, we attempt to practice the art to its highest level.  

 

Once we agree that a proposed project is congruent with our basic philosophy and values, it is then our intent to fulfill it to its highest potential. This is where the intern comes in — developing models, sketches, and other means by which we can see, and thereby solve, the problems and challenges posed by each project.  Such work is by its nature time consuming and is rarely adequately compensated, particularly when the project is for moderate or low-income clients.
 

Projects

 

The MDA intern is engaged in whatever projects are currently on the boards.  This usually includes several cohousing projects, an affordable non-profit housing project, a planning project, and perhaps a childcare environment.

 

Written Projects: Usually, each intern performs a research project, such as a post-occupancy evaluation project or similar.

 

Models: We often find the best way to communicate our design intent to lay people, and indeed to design the project, are with a 3D museum board model.

 

Construction Projects: If an intern has very little or no construction experience, he or she may be asked to participate in a building project.  For example, one intern coordinated with the group and participated with the group in the construction of the children’s play loft at the Doyle Street Cohousing community with the community.

 

Employment: Many interns have gone on to work for us.  We give employment preference to former interns, but it depends on the nature and volume of what is on our boards at the time.  We encourage interns to keep in touch with us; over the years several have come back to work here.

 

Evaluations: Chuck Durrett will meet with you at the end of each month to discuss how the internship is going.  The last meeting will concentrate on what you want your professional future to be and how we can help you accomplish it.  In the past, our letters of recommendation seem to have been helpful. There is a thorough evaluation after the first month. Two of the 50 plus interns that have interned here over the last 25 years and from around the world did not make it past the first month. Even after a great portfolio and references, it sometimes has not been a perfect match. That risk always exists and you should be aware of it.

 

Qualifications:
We expect that you come to the internship with basic drafting and presentation skills.  We are a Macintosh office and use VectorWorks — it is important you know this program prior to interning here, at least the basics.  If a foreign student, we also would like you to be familiar with the feet and inches system.  In recent years we have had extremely qualified interns who were able to grow extensively from their previous experiences, and go forth and implement high-quality, yet affordable, multi-family housing, and highly functional neighborhoods.

 

Drawings: Much of our work is communicated graphically; our interns must be well versed in graphic communication.  You must know how to draft before your arrival here. You should also have a working knowledge of Sketch Up, Photoshop and InDesign.

 

Application Instructions & Contact Info: Please send your resume and samples of your work (6-8 drawings and photos of models) via e-mail to charles.durrett@cohousingco.com.  We will call you to set up an appointment.  Thanks very much for your interest.