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Allfrey + South Internship

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My name is Simon Pitcaithly and I’m currently in the process of completing a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree at Ara Institute of Canterbury. As part of the course, students are encouraged to obtain their own internship placement at an architectural practice in order to gain insight into the industry and be introduced to scenarios and situations that they may be involved in, following the completion of their tertiary studies.

After commencing my internship at Allfrey + South Architects, what first stood out for me was the passion that the entire team had for architecture. For them, it was not only a day job – they immersed themselves in the architecture around them and were keen to improve the standard of building design in Christchurch. In addition, they were ready and willing to share knowledge and ideas which, for a student just beginning their architectural career, was one aspect I was immensely thankful for.

A saying that one of my former tutors used, came to mind when describing the approach the firm had to design: architecture is not a set recipe. It’s not simply two tablespoons of concrete, a sprinkling of timber and windows to taste. Each project has its own character and distinct personality, and efforts should be made to celebrate both the uniqueness and individuality of both client and site. There was the underlying mentality that any issues that could prove problematic were actually opportunities for creativity to flourish and inspired solutions to be devised.

As I spent more hours in the office, it became abundantly clear that the design phase did not simply end at the completion of conceptual drawings. Rather, the developed design phase was yet another opportunity to showcase creativity. Elegant solutions were devised in order resolve issues in much finer detail, from parapet weathertightness down to joinery details.
Despite my inexperience in the architectural industry, the necessity of clear communication between all parties involved with the design and build process was not lost on me. Not only was there the importance of maintaining external communication with contractors and clients, but equally as important was maintaining internal communication with people inside the firm to ensure everyone was working on the same page.

It was the first open plan office environment I had experienced and I found it a brilliant manner in which to encourage effective and efficient teamwork and collaboration.

On my first site visit, I could see the rewards of forming a strong connection with the clients – one of the fundamental philosophies of the firm. When an alteration was suggested, the clients were extremely open and receptive, due to their trust in the vision of the firm. It was clear that the clients clearly valued and respected the opinions of the Allfrey + South design team because of the firm’s philosophy of taking the extra time to fully understand their clients’ ideas and vision.

I have really enjoyed my internship at Allfrey + South Architects and found the experience extremely enlightening and beneficial. A huge thanks to the entire team for making me feel welcome.

-Simon Pitcaithly

Published on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019