Erasmus internship in Paris

Kārlis Narkevičs / BA Arch III year / 2013/2014

Our study period consists of persistent bigger or smaller trials and challenges but after being in a constant environment and surrounded by the same people, sooner or later each can have a desire for new challenges. I wanted to gain knowledge, to examine myself in unprecedented environment and possibly find new insights. Therefore, I took the opportunity to practice at one of the architect offices abroad using Erasmus Internship placement program. The acquisition of knowledge is very important part of study process, but in my opinion, very important aspect is also a quality relationships with lecturers. Maintaining a friendly and open relationship forms productive communication that can provide unexpected opportunities. A good recommendation received from the design professor let me end up in one of the best young architects in France - DGT architects. With great fervor and despite of my poor French language skills, I decided to spend the summer in Paris ‐ the city which I visited for the first time.

Time for preparing for the journey was about two weeks long. At this time it was necessary to get acquainted with the office portfolio, coordinate the necessary tripartite signing, to find the cheapest flight, to get a basic understanding of staying in Paris and to find a profitable place where to live. During this time I had to pass the last exams and finish some the ongoing work. Aside from finding accommodation, the rest was achieved more or less smoothly. Only few days before departure in social networks I successfully found a wonderful room for living. It was an apartment in a 23rd floor of the high‐rise building. A view from the room window was my first striking impression of the city as a whole.

Less than three months in architecture practice is not sufficient time for intern to take a full part in design process. Thereforedue to more efficient work process it may be better to spend 6 months in the architecture office. DGTarchitects is quite small architectural office on average European level. It allowed me to get to know with each of the employees and create a good relationships. The office is very active in overstepping boundaries of disciplines as well also national boundaries. One of their largest projects currently under construction is located nearby - in city Tartu. It is the Estonian National Musem what will be completed by the 2016.

In summer months the office operations were ongoing practically without interruptions. I began my work on the accession of a new competition. It was the opportunity to participate in the design process from the first sketch to the final proposal. The experience gained from the three different office managers allowed me to see the project from unexpected points of view. During the practice I was able to find out more about my strengths and find out how to improve my work management in field of architecture.

And of course the city itself. Paris!