Earlier this year, Design Technology students were given the chance to be immersed in some of the various disciplines of design at the annual QACI Design Day. With the help of several generous volunteers, from the QACI Alumni to industry professionals, an incredible opportunity arose to gain work experience at a prominent architecture firm Australia-wide, Conrad Gargett. Along the way, we were privileged to have senior architect, Ben List oversee our week and truly allow us experience life as an architect.
With the ever-prevailing threat of COVID shutting down the unique experience, we were fortunate to have Mr Clifford and the team at Conrad Gargett, who were persistent in their efforts to ensure we could follow through with the experience. However, COVID struck at the end of Term 1, putting a pause on school and ending any chance of completing our experience. A reschedule was made for the end of Term 2, leaving us to simply hope for the best. Fortunately, Term 2 holidays came around with no lockdown and we were finally given the 'green light' to begin our memorable experience at Conrad Gargett.
Navigating the bustling city was daunting at first. I felt like a fish out of water amongst the city folk, all walking past in a flurry. The morning sun bounced off glass panes from the surrounding skyscrapers while the sounds and smells of nearby cafes filled the air. Finally, I arrived at 240 Queen Street, the place I would come to know over the week. As the elevator doors opened on Level 26, all my original feelings of nervousness and uncertainty melted as I was greeted with the warm welcomes of the team at Conrad Gargett.
Once everyone had arrived, Ben set out the plan for the week, creating a diverse experience which allowed us to completely immerse ourselves in the job of an architect. As a senior architect of Conrad Gargett, Ben worked in the Heritage sector alongside many other incredibly experienced professionals, who I would be engaging with over the course of the week. Each day I was assigned different projects, from a small restaurant in Goomeri to laboratories at Griffith University. Within these projects, I was able to experience different stages of the design process and even had the amazing experience to work on-site at the Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera.
The Goomeri project tasked me with taking a model from Revit, a program used to model infrastructure, and then creating a 3D virtual walkthrough video of the building. This is a significant step in the design process, as it clearly communicates the architects' ideas to the client by bringing forward a visual representation. To achieve this, I used information provided to me to assign materials to every surface of the building. Assisting with my journey, I was lucky to have architects Yasmine Melis (QACI Alumni) and Luke Blake, who guided me through the whole program, dedicating their time for any questions or problems I encountered.
However, disaster struck on Tuesday when a snap lockdown forced the entire office to work from home. In that moment I thought that my extraordinary experience at Conrad Gargett had been cut short, but Ben assured me that this could be a good example of the struggle architects face working during the pandemic. To overcome this 'new normal', Ben organised for the next project to be online over Teams, and even offered me the opportunity to return the following week provided the lockdown had ended. Working online proved to be a challenge and really showed me what workers all over the world are going through every day in recent times.
Fortunately, lockdown ended and once again I was welcomed back for a final two days. Although Ben had gone on holidays with his family, Nerida Bruyeres bravely took me under her wing as my new supervisor. On my site visit to Gallipoli Barracks, I saw how many other diverse teams also play an important role in the project such as Badge, a construction company, and Aurecon, a company supervising the overall management of the project. Moreover, I was able to see how these teams collaborated and learnt the importance of strong communication between all parties involved.
On the final day, Nerida ran me through the basics of Revit and assigned me with the task of recreating a heritage building from the Gallipoli Barracks. Previously, the team used laser technology to map the building which was then imported as a point cloud into Revit. This acted as a guide to the structure of the building which enabled me to create an accurate representation of the building in its current state.
With this, my unforgettable week of work experience came to a close. I am incredibly grateful to have received this opportunity and have learnt so many skills which I will carry with me for years to come.
...article written by Jimmy Harvey, Year 12