China Internship Experience in Architecture & Planning

[h2a]Gina Ratcliffe[/h2a]

  • Duration: 24 weeks
  • UniversityNottingham Trent University (NTU)
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Industry sectorArchitecture & Planning
  • Key assignments: Involvement in all design aspects of a large scale project which consisted in the redevelopment of an old factory building involving office, exhibition, leisure, landscape and furniture design.

Hi Gina! You’ve been here with us since January, I guess you must already have some things to say about Shanghai. Are you getting used to the various aspects of your life as an intern in this city?

Working and living in a city with such a fast pace of life has taught me to adapt quickly. I am really enjoying my time in Shanghai and luckily I have managed to find a good work and social balance! I am also learning a lot about Chinese culture.

Did you expect to build a network prior coming to Shanghai and if so, have you already built one? Is Shanghai an easy city to make contacts?

I perhaps did not expect to make so many networks. I have formed a strong social network including both NSC interns and other people I have met during my time here so far. The international nature of the city lends itself to befriending people from all over the world and from various cultures. In regards to business networks, I am gradually forming a strong bond with my host company. The fact that they are an international company with offices in China, Germany and the UK as well as partner companies in Canada and Mexico provides me with global links. I would, however, like to increase my architectural network even further still during the rest of my internship in Shanghai.

You are currently working for an architecture firm, what are some of the projects you are handling? what are your goals for these projects? Does it match your expectations?

At present, I am working on the design for the new GHP Architecture & Planning Design International Head Office. The project is a large scale redevelopment of an old factory building involving office, exhibition, leisure, landscape and furniture design. I have been heavily involved in all aspects of the design to date. The level of responsibility I have been given has surpassed my expectations and I hope to be able to see the project through to completion before the end of my internship.

In 2011 you will receive your BA (Hons) in “Interior Architecture & Design”  from Nottingham Trent University in England. What are your plans after graduation?

My internship here has heightened my ambition to work abroad after I graduate. Perhaps within Europe. Alternatively I am eager  to work within another rapidly developing city like Shanghai, for example, Dubai. In addition to this I am also interested to learn more about the simplicity of Japanese design so maybe Tokyo could be next!

As an Architecture & Design student and , therefore, as an expert, we would like to hear your point of view about Chinese design aesthetics?

I have a strong interest in the old, traditional Chinese architecture. I think it is interesting to take elements of this style and combine them with something more modern or simplistic in order to create something original.

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