Tagged : internship

chbl

Chess Academy Baku

Wolf Prix is well known for its incomprehensible sketches. And I was fortunate enough to be around when he made one for the Baku Chess Academy. Before we continue, first some background info. The same client of the Central Bank project happened to be involved with chess as well. He wanted the best chess academy and commissioned Wolf Prix, founder of Vienna architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, for the project.

I briefly worked on this project and saw Wolf Prix when he sketched out his vision. This is what it looked like:

It took the team several weeks, ultimately they came up with this:

I guess the Central Bank of Azerbaijan was designed the same way? Maybe clichés about architects are true after all.

chbl

Central Bank Azerbaijan

“And here’s the Non Disclosure Agreement”, simultaneously, she presented me with a piece of paper which I had to sign. Otherwise, my stay at Vienna architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au would be very short lived.

The Non Disclosure Agreement prevented me from including three CHBL projects in my portfolio and blog. But… finally I’m allowed to share one of the projects with you. In fact, it’s the project I worked on most. It’s a skyscraper located in Baku, Azerbaijan. And this is not just any building, it’s the Central Bank of Azerbaijan headquarters.

During the course of three months, I worked on countless floor plans, exterior views, some elevations, the vault, the bank president’s office (including a private elevator) and much more.

Read more about the project on the Coop Himmelb(l)au website.

OneMinute – Christmas in Vienna

Today you’ll get a quick glimpse of Christmas in Vienna. This video includes the largest and most famous Weihnachtsmarkt of Vienna, the Christkindlmarkt, on the square in front of City Hall (Rathaus). Also you’ll see two streets decorated with thousands of lights (Graben and Kohlmarkt). Last year I visited these places many times.

Coop Himmelb(l)au Q/A part 2

Currently, Coop Himmelb(l)au is one of the most frequently used search terms to find this website. So it’s no surprise to me people want to learn more about this Vienna based architecture company. Back in July, I answered several questions about this internship at CHBL. Today, it’s time for part two. This time I’ll answer Antonio’s questions (which I received via email).

What are tasks interns usually do?

This totally depends on the team and status of the project. If you work on competitions a lot, this could involve model making. In my case, I worked on a project which was in the preliminary phase. So I made many diagrams, presentation books, et cetera. In other teams, the tasks can be more technical. Coop Himmelb(l)au assigns you to a team based on your own experiences/qualities and the job interview you (probably) had.

Were there many interns and young people besides you?

Yep. Coop Himmelb(l)au hires many young people. When I was in Vienna, I joined a group of interns who usually teamed up for lunch and/or spend evenings together.

What was the most remarkable thing that happened during your internship?

Hehe, good question. This probably is the evening we had an important deadline. We worked with about six people on a design which had to bee finished before 8AM (yep, 8AM, not PM). Halfway through the evening Wolf Prix joined us. Although he spoke German the entire time, I understood everything he said. Which surprised me, since I’m not so fluent in German. After a while, he made a joke so I joked back… in German. He looked at me… and asked an architect who I was. She told him I was an intern from the Netherlands. After which he spoke to me in a language I didn’t understand. It sounded a lot like German, but it just wasn’t. And he left. So I asked the architect what Wolf Prix said. She told me he imitated my Dutch accent by speaking weird German…

How many hours did you usually work during a typical day?

In the example described above, I worked from 8AM to 3AM the following day (so 19 hours in total). But that only happened once. Mostly I arrived at 9AM and worked until 7 or 8PM.

Are they flexible in general? I mean, decisions, schedules, etc…

You can do many things besides your daily tasks. And the office/team can be very flexible… As long as you meet your deadlines. Sometimes the partner-in-charge has a meeting with a client (which mostly happens abroad, since it’s a very international company). In my case, the main architect was in Azerbaijan a lot. During those days our team played catch-up or relaxed a bit. After two or three of those days, the architect would return. And with him, many new tasks and project changes we had to take care of.

What was the best experience you could say that you got from here?

I did several internships in the past. Each of those internships differed completely from this one. Why? It’s the size of the company (about 150 employees), the number and size of projects abroad and their own invented architecture style (Deconstructivism). Also the fact that founder Wolf D. Prix still works at this company adds something special to the experience (as described above). And perhaps I should mention Vienna is a beautiful city and great to live in. But this all gets trumped by the people. Imagine 150 creative people trying to design the most awesome, craziest and sometimes weirdest projects possible. In my first week, I met people from Germany, the USA, Azerbaijan, Greece, Turkey, Britain, China, Denmark, Portugal, Spain… should I go on? It took me several days to meet the first native Austrian employee… So meeting all those people with completely different backgrounds and learn from them (while having fun) was the best experience I got!

OneMinute – Vienna, Austria

December 19, 2010. It’s the day I returned from Vienna after doing an internship at Coop Himmelb(l)au. I remember this day very well. Not because it was my last day in Vienna, but because of the flight back. Europe experienced extreme winter weather. Temperatures dropped below minus ten degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). Almost no international flights were possible from and to most European airports. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, my destination, shut down for a period of several days. Tens of thousands of passengers stranded at airports throughout Europe.

I was worried my flight would get cancelled too. At 5AM, a cab drove me to Vienna Airport. It took less than ten minutes to check in, drop off my luggage and get through customs (my personal record). Relaxed as I was (I was prepared for the worst), I made my way to the gate. It turned out my flight was one hour delayed, which made me really happy. Why? Not because it’s delayed, but because this meant my flight wasn’t cancelled!

It turned out all passengers who would use Amsterdam as a stopover were denied access to the plane. Only 16 passengers (out of a sold-out 100 seat plane) boarded the plane. Since I’m tall, I immediately asked for a seat with more legroom. “Of course”, the stewardess answered. “We have many empty seats, so you can sit at 1A”. And that’s how I ended up being in business class, together with just one other passenger. Immediately after take off, the blue business class curtain closed and all business class people (yep, thats two people) were catered by our private stewardess.

Before this day started, I prepared myself for any scenario imaginable (believe me, I have a big imagination). This included (but was not limited to); overcrowded airports, no flights at all, not being able to land in Amsterdam, spend a night at the airport, boarding the wrong flight, flying to Amsterdam via Dubai or the States, you name it, I thought of it. There was just one scenario I didn’t think of. I mean, who can imagine an almost empty airport, not having to wait in line at all, an almost private plane, business class seat and a personal stewardess. Wow, it was the best flight I ever had.

Anyway, this story is meant to introduce OneMinute number thirteen. It’s a video about Vienna, the city I lived in for several months. This video starts with a 28 seconds long shot (no, it’s not boring at all!). I attached my small Panasonic camera to my bike and filmed the exterior of the Austrian Parliament in one single take. Enjoy!