As I complete my two year internship with The Grid, it is time for a retrospective look. Two years ago I was beginning “Part 2” of my career in architecture, a mandatory professional cycle after your first undergraduate degree towards becoming a certified Architect in Argentina.
I was unsure at the time if I wanted to continue the traditional path of becoming an architect and start to design and build, or if I wanted to explore something related to sustainability or urbanism. In the end, I decided to continue to follow the path towards a professional certification in Architecture. During that decision making process I was also working part-time as a Research Assistant at both the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Belgrano.
Then the opportunity at The Grid appeared and I thought this would be a great outlet to develop my writing skills, as I had mainly been focusing on my technical education and skills. I saw The Grid as an opportunity to maintain my writing practice, which I love.
When I was accepted for the blogging internship, writing in English proved to be a challenge. Although I went to a British School back in Colombia and studied English my entire life (to the point that I consider myself bilingual) becoming familiar with the type of writing expected at The Grid was challenging. Additionally, I needed to acclimate my English to a blog writing style, while gearing my writing towards gaining the reader’s attention and maintaing interest.
Now, at the end of this two year internship, I realize I've learned a lot about writing to a non-academic audience and communicating my ideas in a more open and accessible way. It has even improved my ability to write in Spanish, avoiding long written discussions and being very straight-forward. During the internship I tried to present to a global audience what is happening in two Latin-American countries - particularly concerning architecture, urban planning, built heritage and innovation.
Having lived in both Colombia and Argentina, I was able to compare and contrast these countries and their similar development patterns and challenges. I looked at the rapid urbanization of Colombian cities in the past century, the architectural transformation of the Palermo District in Buenos Aires and the Latin American poster city for urban renewal, Medellín. During this process I hope that readers got a clear idea about the state of these Latin American cities and were able to connect with an area of the world that is often times left out in the writings of the western world.
Even though I’m saying goodbye to The Grid, I’m still benefiting from it. I received an invitation to the Future of Places Conference to be held here in Buenos Aires next month, and part of that invitation was in reference to the articles I wrote about the city for The Grid, but directed to an English-speaking audience.
Today, I am a mere four months away from presenting my final thesis project and finally calling myself an Architect and Urbanist. I will always remember The Grid as a great opportunity and learning experience for my professional career, especially in terms of how to write about the subjects I learned at the University and presenting them to an audience.
I thank Renee van Staveren for the opportunity, and for these past two years in which I’ve learned more that I could imagine. I want to also thank my editors Debra Hawryzki and especially Adam Kabir Dickinson who have provided so much constructive feedback and help during this internship.
Thank you very much for everything and ¡hasta pronto!
Credits: Images by Luis Lozano-Paredes. Data linked to sources.