An Inside Look from Studio Luz Interns
Interns at Studio Luz don’t take coffee orders. Instead, they gain real-world design experience working on major projects and building meaningful connections in the field. Yes, even from Day One. Just ask returning intern Joshua Ssebuwufu, a Wentworth Institute of Technology undergraduate student completing his last year. Or recent intern Michael Farris, who, as a current RISD undergraduate, interned during Winter session, and Kaitlin Pettenger, a Wentworth Institute of Technology undergraduate who is currently spending her Spring Co-Op with us.
As interns, Joshua, Kaitlin and Michael have been building their resumes – and gaining first-hand experience that they might not otherwise have gained in the classroom alone. Kaitlin explains that the collaborative nature of interning at Studio Luz, as well as the pace of working in a busy design firm, offer interns a practical understanding of the field. Kaitlin says, “At school, all the projects are individual. So you’re doing every phase of the project by yourself,” but that at Studio Luz, “it’s a lot different having other people to help you to get it done for a certain deadline rather than relying on just yourself.”
For Michael, one crucial element that an internship at Studio Luz provides is teaching young designers about the importance of efficiency. He says, “in school, you learn more non-practical ways of working. But while you’re an intern, you realize that you don’t have all the time in the world to get things done, and you need to be efficient with your time.”
Joshua, Kaitlin and Michael have learned – and excelled at – taking the elements of design that they have learned in school and applying their knowledge to real-world projects, all while working together with the entire Studio Luz team and contributing their own valued skills and perspectives.
One important project Joshua contributed greatly during the summer of 2021 was on the design of affordable housing on 5 city owned parcels along Blue Hill Ave. The City of Boston recently designated those 5 city owned lots to Developer Dariela Villon-Maga. Joshua continues to work as a design intern at Studio Luz while managing his full time studies at Wenthworth. Joshua states, “Working with Dariela and the Department of Neighborhood Development is giving me practical experience that I would otherwise not have had the opportunity getting from a school environment.”
Another projects that the interns worked on is the West Island Planning Study, a collaboration among Studio Luz, MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) and MPZ Development, aiming to develop a currently underdeveloped site.
This planning study envisions lively, community-centered programming for West Island that aims to attract residents, investors, and visitors alike while also presenting a more sustainable method of development via public and private investment over the course of several development phases. Our vision is to create a new model for life and leisure in the community with new multi-family residential construction, including “Artist Live/Work,” and workforce and affordable housing, plus mixed-use buildings that we hope will spur investment and development in underdeveloped areas. And in the visionary plan, we also want to ensure that the programming remains flexible enough that it could be adapted to meet any future needs of the community.
The interns played a crucial role in getting this planning study completed. In particular, they assisted with its final stages with renderings to get it presentation-ready. Their assistance with these aspects of the planning study ensured that the interns will have learned a lot about what the various phases of a design project entail, which means that they will leave the internship with a solid understanding of what the whole of the design process looks like.