Columbus Idea Foundry Inspires Triad Intern’s Final Project
I always look forward to coming back to Triad after school lets out. Being a returning intern is an amazing experience, applying what I’ve learned on campus to real-world scenarios. It’s so rewarding coming back to a professional firm, to the familiar environment and people. There’s a comfort in knowing exactly how my time here will be spent. A welcome email and coffee run, diving into projects and deadlines. A good luck breakfast and exit interview, and then back to school. This cycle between school and work gets occasionally tiring, but it consistently reinforces my confidence in the path I’m on. This is exactly where I’m meant to be.
I’ve just wrapped up the first half of my junior year at The Ohio State University, and it was extremely rewarding. Despite the challenging projects and classes, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. My biggest success of the semester was my final project. It was inspired by the Columbus Idea Foundry, a building created by Triad, and I am very proud of the work I created.
Over an intensive period of 8 weeks, I dove into the concept of a “community shed”, designing spaces for both the community and those who choose to become members. The goal was to bring the community together by combining programs such as continued education, office spaces, and workshops. While members would have access to more of the building, I did my best to create an experience that would be rememberable for everyone who passed through. The Idea Foundry provides a similar space for the community, albeit at a smaller scale.
Since our project would be located in Franklinton, OH, we did a site visit as a class. We explored the area, walking past COSI and the site of our project. Towards the end of our walk, our professor took an unexpected turn, and we ended up at the Idea Foundry. Although we never made it past the lobby, I don’t think I would’ve been inspired without the limitations. I wanted to replicate the curiosity and wonder I felt, the desire to explore further and see what it’s like to be part of that community.
The timeline for this project was a mere 7 weeks. In that time, I turned my idea into a towering building that stood over one hundred feet tall. An open frame surrounds the different rooms, all suspended in the air by steel structures within. The rooms are connected by catwalks and stairs, creating a mazelike experience for those who have never been, and expedited routes for those who are familiar. To truly tie this building in to the blooming art district, the bottom of each room features a mural. These would be visible at any hour of the day due to a series of spotlights shining up at them. At a glance, this building couldn’t be more different than the Idea Foundry. This, to me, is the essence of architecture – exploring diverse approaches to a shared concept. Learning from successes and failures and drawing inspiration from past designs to shape the future.
After leaving the rigors of college life and coming back to work, it’s easy to forget that the work I’m doing now isn’t for a grade – it’s a contribution to the communities we serve. Site visits and tours of completed projects are reminders of the real-world impact that the work at Triad has. The amazing work I get to witness and take part in fuels my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been given. I always look forward to returning to Triad, and I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted. As I move forward on the path towards being an architect, I know that the knowledge I gain from working in the office will stay with me and help guide me towards success.