Treading a New Path: My Internship at GAJ

By September 13, 20202020

My father is an architect and so was his father and his before him which now makes me the fourth generation in the family profession. Our family workshop is small and intimate, often purposely disorganised to ensure a relaxed and laid back yet highly interactive and artistically expressive environment. We all share a love for the metaphysics of this profession and its ultimate act of creation but what I remember most distinctly is my father suggesting I break away from this long standing legacy to start anew in the world, to grow beyond my comfort zone and search for something I can call my own.

And so, for my training, I wanted to experience something completely different from what I was used to. I was looking for a place that could offer me a chance to set new standards and expand my horizons to discover what internationally recognised and appreciated architecture is. I remember hearing about GAJ in a conversation between my father and my uncle who at the time worked in the firm. With both being architects they often discussed their extremely different praxes and the events leading to their respective positions in the world. My uncle talked highly of GAJ as a wonderful architectural platform and a second home which piqued my interest enough to want to train with the firm.

I applied and was thrilled to receive an offer to join the firm as an intern. My first day in the office was a little overwhelming, but hugely exciting. The studio was a hive of activity with solid work being produced continuously. I was introduced to a diverse group of dynamic people who were exceptionally skilled at their art and fully engaged in the work. And there was an incredible warmth in the office as the team took out time to make me feel comfortable and guided. These people actually became my teachers as, stage after stage, through them I realised there was so much I had to learn and improve on. The exposure was terrifying yet so rewarding.

Along my journey I got to work on several projects of varying scales and typologies and even got the opportunity to conceptualise and model a few ideas. But what I really appreciated was the opportunity to interact with all team members and team leaders freely and enthusiastically as everybody was considerate enough to listen to each other’s perspectives.

Unfortunately some of my time at GAJ was during the covid-19 slowdown with the resulting shift in remote working. The lockdown made me slow down and appreciate the beauty and nature in the spaces around us. It also reinforced the importance of design in our lives and just how social we are.

My time here has been educational, as it has helped me tread a path of careful and passionate architectural designing. And as I get ready to go back to my studies I reflect on my time as an intern and know that it has been extremely educational and rewarding.

Shayan Firdosy, Intern