We’re back at it again with another blog straight from the BLDD Interns! While we all are interning in different offices across Illinois and Iowa, we have one thing in common; we are all women in a male-dominated field. We have decided to unleash our inner girl power and make this blog all about our experiences as the women interns of BLDD.
Starting off in the Decatur, IL office is Kayla. She mentioned in the last blog that this was her first internship, but you would never know that! Kayla is helping with the Jacksonville Middle School project. Her interest in the middle school project stem from the innovative design of the school, which includes an interior courtyard for students. As former president of Women in Architecture at school, Kayla understands the struggles that most women face in a mostly male-dominated field. Kayla was able to work in the construction field before she became part of the BLDD family. She found it silly how many contractors and workers weren’t sure what to do with her on site. “It was like giving a caveman an iPhone, and telling him to work it” she remembers. It took them a while to understand she could handle anything that they threw her way. Kayla feels that BLDD has done an amazing job of welcoming all of its women interns, as well as its full time women employees.
In the Chicago, IL office Nineveh admits that these past two weeks have flown by! She is our returning BLDD intern, and with that comes a lot of responsibility. Her favorite project currently is an independent living apartment. This project is special because she has been given the opportunity to create her own schematic designs for the layout of the apartments (cue the applause). While exciting this experience was also very intimidating for her! Exploring the different schematic design options, and learning more about ADA really made her appreciate the experience. Nineveh acknowledges that as a woman in architecture, it is hard not to feel intimidated at times, especially since her office is male-dominated. However, BLDD has risen above that intimidation by giving Nineveh the opportunity to explore her own ideas for an apartment, making her feel like an equal member of the team. She says that BLDD is allowing her to gain the knowledge and the courage to voice her opinions as well as learning by doing, and not watching.
Down in our Champaign, IL office Mohona has been working on the Burrill Hall project at the University of Illinois. She is extremely excited to be a part of the design development process which includes a full redesign of the stacks in Burrill as well as a new freeform learning center! Since Mohona is interested in structures, she has been building the existing structural and architectural models for BLDD. Being part of this project has made Mohona privy to the part of architecture where the physical building doesn’t match the existing drawings. She says that after a few site visits and a lot of measuring, she and her team have overcome these obstacles and are continuing with the project. Even though the Champaign office has more men than women working there, Mohona says that she doesn’t feel like she’s working in a male-dominated environment. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and has allowed her to feel like she plays a significant role in the BLDD team. She claims that with the guidance of her mentors, working at the Champaign office has been a piece of cake (sweet and easy).
Here in the Davenport, IA office, deadlines are soon approaching. My favorite project that I am working on currently is the Oak Run Clubhouse that will service their golf course. I was able to help design the casework that will appear in the pro shop as well as help one of the architects pick the colors for the shingles, sheet metal, and wood, which was very exciting. As for the Davenport office, once inside you would never know that architecture is a male-dominated field. Our branch is an female-dominated office (girl power to the extreme)! It is not only extremely refreshing to see a female-dominated architecture office but also to see a thriving female-dominated office. The BLDD family that I have acquired at the Davenport office has not only made me feel accepted in the field of architecture, but also shown me how being a woman in architecture doesn’t have to be an intimidating role. Going to meetings and seeing how the women in our office operate with mostly men on a daily basis is shedding a lot of light on how the role of women in architecture is changing for the better, and I have BLDD to thank for that.
Until next time,
The Women Interns at BLDD