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Meet Our 2022 Summer Interns

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In honor of National Intern Day, hear from our summer interns, Lauren Leonard and Ivy Smith, as they reflect on their experiences at HH Architecture so far:


Lauren Leonard – Interior Design Intern, 2022
Pursuing her degree at Virginia Tech in interior design with a minor in landscape architecture and ecological cities.

Q: What are some projects you have worked on during your internship?
A: I’ve been able to work on the Fuquay-Varina Community Center, Morehead Elementary School, Club Boulevard Elementary School, and Duke Energy projects.  

With Morehead, Club, and Fuquay, I’ve gotten to do a lot of creative design. With Club Boulevard Elementary, in particular, I did the reception desk design, and I did the cafeteria floor design. I was tasked with understanding what the school is all about and learned that tactical experiences, and being sensory-oriented are especially important to them. With their mascot being the Manatee, I took the sensory activities and put it on the face of the reception desk and had a little manatee that goes across a wave cut out.  

I’ve had a lot of fun working on the Fuquay-Varina Community Center and had an incredibly good team dynamic with the interiors team in selecting materials, and brainstorming design options. 

Q: What is one thing you didn’t expect out of your internship at HH Architecture?
A: It has been enjoyable to have the liberty of making design choices and utilizing so much creativity at an intern level, and it is exciting to possibly see them in the future within the design of a building.  

Q: As an Interior Design major at Virginia Tech, what led you to choose your major in ecological cities?
A: Ecological cities is about urban planning. Moving to Raleigh from a small town in Virginia sparked my interest in urban planning and how that is intertwined with the eco-environment and ecosystem. It interested me how a landscape can be reflected in the interior design of a building.

I feel that learning about ecological cities and urban planning, along with landscape architecture, has really helped me fully understand project sites, along with the layouts of sidewalks and roads. The interior of a building can piggyback off the landscape to set the whole experience from exterior to interior.   

Q: What’s one memorable moment from your time here?
A: Going to my first job site at the Wake Technical Community College Central Energy Plant and having my first hard hat moment. Just getting to see everything I’ve ever learned and done in school, seeing the building in real life, getting the products going, and making sure it fits into the budget was a cool experience. 

Q: Name one thing you’ll take away from your experience at HH Architecture.
A: Knowing the real budget, real timing, and real phases of projects, is what I needed to put everything into perspective. Branching out into the commercial side of this industry, and getting the full experience, helped me know that I was on the right track.  


Ivy Smith – Architectural Intern, 2022
Pursuing her degree at Virginia Tech in architecture with a minor in industrial design.

Q: How has your internship been so far?
A: I’ve helped with a lot of projects, which has been nice because I’ve gotten a good introduction to all the things that HH Architecture does. I’ve also been able to go on a lot of site visits, which has been really helpful and it’s cool when you are actually on site and you can point out all the pieces that you were taught about in school and taught how to draw, but then seeing them in person, it makes a difference. It puts everything into context, and you see how all of your studying and all the work that you do, how it reflects in the real world. 

Q: What are some of the site visits you’ve been on?
A: The first site visit I went on was the Dueling Dinosaurs Laboratory Exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, back when I first started. It was the coolest site, first of all, walking through the museum, seeing what they were working on, and hearing all the conversations that they were having. I could’ve never pictured the day-to-day on a construction site, it was very helpful to see that side of it. We got to go on top of the roof! You know that big globe? I got to see that from above, which was so cool to see from that perspective. 

Q: What other projects have you been to?
A: I also went to the Teaching Animal Unit Dairy Facility at NCSU. That was neat to see because it was so specialized. I know way more about cows and how they live than I did at the beginning of the summer! The facility’s design is centered around the safety of the cows, like the floors have to be finished in a specific way, and all of the metal in the building has to be grounded because if a cow gets any sort of electrical shock, even a small one, it will stop producing milk, which I did not know. 

Q: What have you learned about projects in specialized fields?
A: I think it’s cool to see how detailed and specific each project is. Architecture, of course, is detail, they teach you that in school, but to actually see a real-world example like the Dairy Facility where everything has to be accounted for to keep the cows safe, was very cool to hear about it.  

Q: Was there a moment that was the most impactful?
A: It is hard to narrow it down to one moment. The site visits have been the most impactful, the cumulation of little moments of seeing things that I studied and how it was coming together and seeing it makes a big difference.  

This was just a funny moment, at the Dairy facility there was a big pile of gravel and Nick pointed to it and said ‘You know that hatch that you draw the foundations in your drawings in school? That’s what that hatch is there on the ground.’ It’s true, that is the hatch pattern that everyone draws under their wall sections in school, that is what you are drawing. Put things into a fun perspective. 

Q: What are some things you’ll take away from HH Architecture?
A: I feel like during my time here I’ve gotten more comfortable asking questions, admitting that I don’t know everything, that I need guidance and support from people that know a lot more about everything than I do. I know that I am still just a student and I am still learning, I guess that will carry throughout the rest of my career, you keep learning so continuing to ask questions is always good. 

You can prepare all you want for architecture, but when you get into the industry there’s going to be things like knowing that a cow can’t be shocked, that you could never prepare for. Things like that have shown me that this profession is a lot about learning. You don’t stop learning at any point, you just keep getting more and more information about how to create the best spaces for whoever you are creating spaces for, whether it’s an office or a barn.