My internship at The Grid has been nothing short of amazing, particularly in how it challenged me to see and experience Melbourne in ways that I previously did not know.
Working with The Grid provided the necessary motivation to explore the city, seeking the understanding of the city's problems and successes. While working at an architecture firm at the same time as my internship, I had a first-hand view into how architects think and create and how this inevitably impacts the city.
Though my primary interest lies in African Architecture and urbanism, during this internship I was looking for a way to understand the first world city, to challenge its history and develop a framework on which to understand the third world city. The two are not notably dissimilar, although they may seem radically different at first. First and third world cities are both governed by the same principles such as transport networks, food distribution, zoning, etc. Though these principles are executed in different ways and as such create the "sense of place" (an architects favorite phrase) through their different iterations of design.
One of the main topics I explored was Melbourne's attempt to alleviate congestion through the introduction of new and more sophisticated transport networks, and how this was addressed in a city that is a facing an ever increasing amount of population density. This theme, although more linked to urban planning than architecture, allowed a greater understanding of the integrated role that planners and architects play in the city. The quality of life, so important to Melbourne, is directly liked to this research.
Melbourne's heritage was another topic of interest to me and how architects deal with an ever evolving society that needs to maintain its history through architecture, all while preserving its built form and character. Anyone would agree that heritage and new developments is a pressing issue when thinking about architectural responses. Architecture is the story of the city. Its history is bound in the work of previous architects from previous eras.
The Grid has provided a necessary framework for me to develop my writing skills and approach to thinking about the city. I would encourage anyone looking to step out of their comfort zone to apply for internship with the team. From helping to develop ideas on specific topics to general authorship development, The Grid is definitely a place in which one can explore all facets of the city through writing. Sad it has to end so soon! I hope you all enjoyed my writing and I hope to see you all soon on the world wide web!
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Kunal Matikiti.