7 Things I Learned at an Award-Winning Architectural Practice in Palma de Mallorca, Spain


How is this picture related? No.6 will explain!


1. Transparency matters – both in buildings and human interaction

During an initial conversation with my supervisor I have been asked for an update on my skills. My response was that I had confidence in my model-making skills, nonetheless my technical software competencies required improvement. My boss appreciated the honesty mentioning that AutoCAD drawings done inaccurately require time-consuming corrections. Communicating openly, I was assigned tasks aligning my strengths with the company’s needs.

The concept of the first project I worked on, banking office, focused on transparency, featuring the ‘exhibit’ of the banking experience itself through large display glazing. Such solutions could increase customer trust.

2. Love, the ultimate instruction for model-making

Further introduced to a project of a house, I was given suggestions for model-making. On one hand, this model was for testing ideas. On the other, my supervisor wanted it to be of a good standard for publishing on their website. His summary was: ‘Simply do it with your heart!’

3. Orderly misalignment

I was asked me to increase a clerestory window to invite more sunlight in. This has interrupted the previous orderly alignment of the window and the beam opening. I was suggested to increase the height in the downward direction by 20 cm (2.5 mm, scale 1:40), mirroring a previous arrangement. This made the space more playful and interesting without making it appear random. It may be a standard any architecture should aspire to – being more than merely logical, calculated forms without abusing ‘the artist’s license’.

4. Verbal communication is much like model-making

I was prompted by a co-worker to free up a table for an upcoming meeting. Instead of wondering whether I should have done that well in advance of the previously agreed time and finding unnecessary justifications, I decided to move the equipment right that moment. Communicating it concisely addressed the request sufficiently. Much like model-making aims at expressing particular qualities, so does literal communication: conveys a specific message, eliminating the distractions: irrelevant information.

5. The chain of communication

Oral descriptions were used by me to clarify free-hand sketches in the process of model-making. Through the latter, I would occasionally communicate to myself the complex space for understanding, sometimes drawn over a print-out for efficiency and clarity. I also consulted print-outs, SketchUp, 3ds Max and AutoCAD files, renderings to re-communicate select information in the physical form.

These experiences lead to a realisation of a complex chain of means to end in architecture, for example: oral explanation > sketches > model > house. In fact, the future residential building itself will be also a means to something, namely accommodating its inhabitants’ lifestyles. Keep going and you’ll end up pondering the purpose of human existance… 😉

6. Learning extends beyond the office

I was invited to join a representative of the company for Pere Garau Open Door Day featuring houses by a locally accomplished architect. I was able to understand better the spaces I was modelling by experiencing similar real ones first-hand, especially patios providing diffused light and extending the interior.

7. Saying goodbye with gratitude

I expressed my thanks to the team with a hand-made card with sketches of their buildings I saw first-hand and/or worked on.

…and the team thanked me too (on the right).
Categories: Europe, Go Abroad Fund, Spain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: