Historic Preservation

  • The rendering produced for the High-rise building in Taichung.

  • Site Drawings for Hotel Renovation Project at Laguna Beach.

Miles (Chengjun) Wu | WATG (Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo)

I was hired by Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo NA, Inc. (WATG) as an Architectural Summer Intern in their Internship program. WATG is a global multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in Strategy, Master Planning, Architecture, Landscape and Wimberly Interiors. It’s a team of 500 creative, world-traveling professionals designing landmark, urban, and leisure destinations with eight offices across three continents. The Irvine office locates in Spectrum Center, Irvine, California, which owns a modern office environment. Every employee has his independent workspace in which two computer screens and one telephone were equipped. The great size of each work desk allows designers to draw large size of drafts freely. There are also meeting rooms and public spaces for the team to communicate and work together. Since most of the design projects of WATG are resorts and hotel, the timetable is not that intense, and everyone seems chill and enjoy their work as designers.

During my summer internship at WATG, I closely cooperated with the architecture design team. I participated in a renovation project of a historic hotel in Laguna Beach. The main purpose was to renew the whole façade and facilities while respecting the limitation of the marine-protection boundary of the sea coastline. To find the balance between the shoreline protection regulations and the design itself, we have weekly meetings with the client who serves as the coordinator between the local organization and designers to acquire the latest feedback. Then we modified the design and drawings in Revit. Besides the renovation project, I also assisted in the design process of a high-rise office building in Taiwan. I dived deeply into the concept to build up a solid understanding of the standards, and offer my help in Revit model construction, rendering in Enscape, podium façade design, and material research.  Through the communication with the client who stressed the limitation of budget, I realized a good design should not just focus on formalism but also be eclectic to create a balance between aesthetic and economic. Beyond those, I have to say, BIM is the future and Revit makes the drawing process more effective.

The courses Documentation Ⅱ (HSPV 601) helped me build up a strong background in construction drawings and digital documentation which allow me to quickly adapt to the workflow of the office. Moreover, I put the preservation design strategies which I acquired from the course Contemporary Design in Historic Settings (HSPV 640) into practice in the hotel renovation project.

As an international student, the focus of my summer internship experience is to get familiar with the architect working routine and standards in the U.S. The two months I spent with my team helped me gain a basic understanding of the industry. I not only learned how to cooperate with team members but also how to communicate and negotiate with the client. Most importantly, my project manager and the architects I’ve been working with give me great advice which helps me gain a much clearer insight of my future career in the architecture design field.

(PS: the weather and vibe in CA really got me. Guess I must put CA as one of my life destinations on the list.)