A Fond Farewell to Our Co-Ops!
RODE has been welcoming architecture and interior design students into our office as co-ops for almost a decade now, and we truly value each and every one of them. Our design process is purposefully set up such that ideas can come from anyone, at any time; our co-ops especially bring fresh, creative outlooks and inspiring ways of thinking about design. We're proud to be able to mentor the next generation of architects and interior designers, and we're equally proud to be mentored by that group - their curiosity and the questions they ask inspire us to be better designers every single day!
It's always sad to say goodbye at the end of their stays, but exciting to see them head back to school and then on to their wonderful design careers. Two of our recent co-ops, Camille Wimpe and Rory O'Connor (both Northeastern '24 students), took the time to share their thoughts on the experience with us.
Why did you choose RODE for your co-op?
Rory O'Connor: I chose RODE because I got the impression that the people here really cared about working in/for their community. I had a great interview process and they made me feel super welcome and like the RODE team would be a great fit for me.
Camille Wimpe: I chose RODE because of the super friendly interview process and the insightful questions I was asked about my work and what kind of things I was interested in working on. My interests in community development, urban sites, and prioritizing local projects align with RODE's aspirations. I was also inspired by the collaborative feel of the office, having previously worked in an office where that was not a priority.
What was your favorite project/thing to work on?
RO: I loved getting to build the model for Eagle Rock, a planned Passive House neighborhood of 17 single-family homes on a rocky, wooded site, and then sitting in on the meeting to watch the client and architects use it to communicate their visions for the site.
CW: I really enjoyed working on 102 Temple St, a mass-timber, Passive House building in Worcester. I was part of the project team through the 50% and 100% Design Development set and felt that I truly learned a lot about the project, and about the more detailed aspects of buildings which we aren't as exposed to in school. I was able to work with the project architect and other designers on the team, and learned a lot from that collaboration.
What most surprised you about your RODE experience, or was the most different from what you expected?
RO: I started my co-op looking forward to learning Revit… but I think I’d rather stick to model making.
CW: I had always heard from classmates as well as other working professionals that drawing details is super tedious, and most people's least favorite part of the job, but since I had never really had the chance to work on them before, editing and drawing wall sections and casework details ended up being super satisfying to me. (I probably just haven't done it enough to get bored of it!)
How was working at RODE different from your previous co-op?
RO: I enjoyed getting to work with lots of different people at RODE rather than sticking with the same few people like at my first co-op.
CW: The biggest difference was definitely the office culture, the office I was previously at was a lot quieter (in part due to COVID and people working from home etc.). But another key difference I've found was the opportunity I had at RODE to work on multiple different project teams, and for multiple project managers. It was really interesting to learn more about how different design processes work and the influence that working with different people can have over a design.
What advice would you give to a future student looking for a co-op?
RO: I would recommend other students looking for co-ops to prioritize learning new skills over sticking with what you know and to ask lots of questions.
CW: I think asking what kind of projects the office is currently working on can be really helpful when choosing a firm, that way you can get a sneak peek of what you might work on and see if it's something that aligns with what you hope to do/learn more about during your co-op. It can be hard to predict what you'll be working on, but it'll give you an idea of what's going on more generally.
What was the most important thing you learned during this co-op?
CW: Honestly, I learned that the design process has a lot of twists and turns, with client meetings, developer driven demands, as well as ever changing energy and building codes. I find a lot of satisfaction in solving these complex puzzles of stakeholder interests, and hope that I am able to keep finding opportunities where I am exposed to all of the ins and outs of design.