Elana Castle investigates the why and how of Arkhefield’s warmly welcomed initiative
October 23rd, 2012
As many professionals will testify, the transition from university to the working world is often a frustrating one. A lack of association and integration between educational institutions and the “business of architecture”, in addition to the current economic climate, result in a lack of paid roles for interns and young graduates.
“There are many young, energetic architect graduates, who are full of energy and ideas, but who are simply unable to find work,” says Amy Edwards from architectural firm Arkhefield. “We wanted to address this issue head on.”
Fortunately, the highly regarded Brisbane-based architecture firm have been riding the wave of building development in Queensland and recognised the need and desire for additional staff. In addition, an interest in improving the relationship between the firm and the young crop of students at architecture schools around the state, led to the launch of their inaugural student design competition, offering a paid internship as the prize.
Launched last week in universities throughout the state, the competition is a three-step process that involves a shortlist followed by a design presentation and a final invitation-only interview with senior Arkhefield staff.
The competition is structured in such a way that students are able to choose from three design challenges, each one, in some way representative of the firm’s diverse portfolio. The briefs include the design of a shelter or street furniture for Brisbane Botanic Gardens, an architect’s studio and the design of a temporary city in a context-specific disaster-struck area.
“We like to involve fresh, young talent early on and this also provided the perfect platform for us to get to know their skills, style and approach on a personal level” explains Edwards. “Instead of reviewing electronic resumes and dropped-off portfolios and a few interviews, we’ve created a broad and level playing field.”
Although it’s the firm’s inaugural launch, the firm are hoping that it will be the first of many. “Queensland architecture is really starting to come into it’s own, in terms of design and development and we look forward to working collaboratively on these exciting projects with young architects who share a similar vision,” adds Edwards. “We appreciate the contribution of interns and graduates in this office. Equally, they will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a team-based work culture, to grow and to spread their wings.”
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