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University of Michigan - Externship

Every year Taubman College coordinates a weeklong unpaid externship during U of M’s spring break. The program is intended for students interested in exploring the architectural profession and adjacent design related fields. Students are hosted by a variety companies and offices across the country.

Students are expected to engage in observational and/or hands-on activities at their given firms in order to further their understanding of architectural practice. I chose to spend the week at RODE Architects for a couple reasons - I spent six years in Boston while (and after) completing my bachelor’s of science in civil engineering, so I was eager to return and visit my girlfriend old friends who still live in the city. I was also impressed with the variety of projects in RODE’s portfolio, projects ranging from small scale renovations to hotels to restaurants to multifamily residential, etc. - large scale and small. The smallish size of the firm appealed to me, and the culture surrounding the office seemed to be a good fit as well.

During my week at RODE I was exposed to a wide variety of projects - I attended a passive house meeting, visited the 960 Mass Ave. site, went on a walkthrough of the 233 Hancock St. mixed-use development, and sat in on a couple other meetings as well. My main responsibility during the externship was the production of a model of the 1515 Commonwealth Ave’s revised configuration.

I can’t take much credit for the model pictured here, though - that’s all Zoe Wong who built the site model and prepared all the laser files for the project - her hard work really set me up for success [ed: take credit, Adrian - the model looks great!!]. I had a lot of fun with the model building process, but mostly I’ve enjoyed getting to know the RODE team. Everyone’s been extremely friendly, helpful, and happy to fill me in on what they’ve been working on. I’d definitely recommend the experience to any Michigan student looking for experience in Boston!

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