From Monday 24th until Thursday 27th November, I had my work experience at John Wardle Architects in Collingwood.
I applied for this work experience because architecture is one of career paths which I am interested in. I thought I will be able to feel the mood in architecture office and consider whether it suits me or not. Before the work experience, I was very nervous and was not really sure what I would be going to do. I felt the big difference between in school and in the workplace, that other staffs do not care my nationality and year level (I was asked but it did not matter for tasks). I thought I was considered as equal as other staffs, neither special nor childish, which made me feel more responsibility for working as a part of the office.
There was a program for work experience students which consists of three main tasks – model making, designing a house, and making a sample board. I started working on creating a model of a house called “Kyneton House“. This is a house which John Wardle Architects built around nine years ago. Its noticeable feature is its roof, which shape reflects wings of plane. For me, it was the first time making a proper model of a house therefore I found it harder than I thought when I was observing a staff demonstrating the basic skills of creating a model. I was given floor plans, roof plan and elevations to refer for finding the measurement and structure of the house. I was surprised that mm (millimetre) is the measurement unit used for everything in architecture. I took two days and half to complete creating this model, but I saw a staff sat next to me spent about a couple of hours to create a very complicated model. I was very amazed and loved making the model even though my model didn’t look accurate.
The next task was to design a house located in Portsea. I was really happy when I was allowed to research many houses in books and magazines from a huge bookshelf in the office. They inspired me to explore more ideas, shapes and structures of house. After I designed the house, I started creating its 3D model on Rhinoceros, the 3D computer graphics application. The application required me to learn shortcuts and basic knowledge in order to create the model I want to build.
One of the best memories at the work experience is the site visit to University of Melbourne School of Design. Currently the main building of School of Design is being constructed, and so I had an opportunity to visit there with an architect who had to go there for the inspection. I had been there and looked the inside of building when Open House Melbourne was being held, however, listening inside stories such as processes which architects took to find the most suitable materials for particular sections, and purposes of parts of building they came up with, fascinated me. This opportunity allowed me to know the progression of construction of building since Open House Melbourne as well as to observe and learn how architects responded to clients’ requests. One interesting story was the exploration of materials for sides of corridor. They were going to use the black material which was chosen for stairs, but they found it dividing the space as it was opaque. They looked for glass and the material used for a seat belt. The corridor with glass looked like the shopping centre or the airport, and they found that the seat belt material will need to be replaced every year and it could catch fire when sewing machine was used. They eventually chose the metal material used for the safety net in primary school. It was made up of metal strings so the space beyond it could be seen through. Finding the appropriate material sounds easy but the actual process may have been very hard.
At the end of the work experience, I was feeling very comfortable and was enjoying working in the office. I could talk with many architects and get valuable information such as about architecture courses in different universities. My perspective on architecture had been strongly influenced by this work experience. It was an honour to be able to have my work experience at John Wardle Architects.