[4th] year update: ATLANTA

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last week students from the 451 – Pro Practices class (3rd and 4th years) traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to visit some of the top design firms in the country. The trip was officially organized by Betty Russel, a past IARC advisory board member and commercial rep for Herman Miller. Thanks to Betty’s fantastic connections, the students toured the Interfac Flor Showroom, TVS Design (Paula Carr- IARC alumni works there),  Gensler, Cooper Cary, the Herman Miller Showroom, Ai3 and ASD.

At each stop, the firms graciously presented a short presentation about the type of work they do and their over all design philosophy. Following the presentation, designers from the firm took small groups of students around the offices to learn more about how they each work and see current projects they in the works. The experience as a whole was truly inspiring.  Every firm, though individual in project type and style, shared similar methodologies in their own design process.

Collaboration was clearly a major component of each firms process. From Ai3, who is a small hospitality focused firm to TVS, who has over 100 employees in the office between their two firms expressed just how important the process was. Another interesting point that several designers made was that hand drawing and rendering was not lost, in fact it is one of the most valued tools a young designer could bring to the table. Most of the firms were still using Sketch-up for modeling and Auto CAD for the technical drawings. They all said they were in the process of switching over to REVIT, but it would take awhile to convert all the files over and get everyone on the same system.

“Personally, this was one of the greatest experiences I have had as a
design student. Paula Carr of TVS Design had a lot of great advice to
offer and reminded us all that as we head into the work place we
shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, we don’t need to know
everything. Paula also reminded us not to lose site of what makes us
creative and unique.
At each firm we visited, I felt confident that we were prepared to
take on the “real world”. The firms weren’t all that much different
from our own studio environment. Everyone had their own space
but there was a clear sense that they would gather together quite
often. There were piles of drawings, samples and a few random personal
nick-nacks all over the place. Each firm seemed like happy, energetic
place that anyone of our students could flourish in.”

Maiken Schoenleber (photo/ text credit)

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