FUNdaMENTAL Design-Build Internship

 Gregory  Melitonov, Assoc. AIA

FUNdaMENTAL proposes, "What if the talent, education and creative energy of architecture students was put to use- direct from the classroom to the construction site?"

FUNdaMENTAL is a design-build internship that proposes, "What if the talent, education and creative energy of architecture students was put to use- direct from the classroom to the construction site?". The resultant program exposes young designers to all aspects of conceptualizing and executing a built work of design- from finding the site to preparing materials for publication. With no expectation and no limitations, fresh minds are able to learn from each other and encourage entrepreneurship as creative individuals navigating the workforce.

This project seeks to bridge the gap between the exploration that is encouraged in architecture education and opportunities that exist once students are outside of academia. Students have the passion to push against what's conventional, but have limited opportunities when they enter professional practice and are no longer given as many outlets to experiment beyond competitions. The process of realizing the design of a large-scale installation involves being hands on with sometimes unfamiliar materials and iteration at larger scales. Design concepts that previously had only been in their imaginations or developed only within digital realm now confront real forces as rudimentary as gravity and the weather, and see firsthand how the public engages with a built construction. Testing materials and connection techniques at 1:1 scale allows students to see how they perform, can be improved on, and build a common denominator of basic tool literacy.

Ultimately what makes FUNdaMENTAL unique is the method of working together, each intern contributing their own backgrounds and diverse interests and expertise. The built work reflects the high level of combined education and experimentation. The shared experience of realizing a self-generated design-build is something they will take with them throughout their careers.

This year, the group focused on the Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias, a neglected green area in the center of Guatemala City. The team chose this site as the location for their design-build intervention, called playAchomo, with the goal of making an impact and initiating a first step in a long process of civic and cultural renewal. At the base of the cultural center the team constructed a large colorful canopy and experiential path, housing new cultural activities and providing a resting place for visitors.

Student Team: Shalini Makdani, Timea Toeroek, Julia Cassidy, Mauricio Perez, Alice Pontiggia, Kelly Pyle, Ryan Hergott, Marta del Olmo, Almabett Yon, Juan Arriaza, Guillermo Vasquez, Diego Gonzalez

Image credits


Gregory Melitonov, Assoc. AIA


Gregory Melitonov, Assoc. AIA


Gregory Melitonov, Assoc. AIA


Gregory Melitonov, Assoc. AIA


Gregory Melitonov, Assoc. AIA