I have been absent for far too long because I moved to BIG's office for two months to work on a BIG + COBE competition. I was working long hours and could not afford the time to update my blog. The results of the international competition will be announced in August. Fingers crossed.
I suspect what I will take most from my experience working at COBE is how the firm emulates a design studio you'd find in school. Only far more effective than any other studio I've had. The office is centered around iteration and constant visualization. The tools are the same as any office or studio in school. The difference is how iterations are presented, compared, and investigated.
The office predominantly uses rhino for the design phase to generate fast iterative 3d model sketches, then shifts to Revit for CDs. Physical models are made early on for massing studies. They are rough, far from perfect, but admittedly photograph well because they are white foam (easy to photoshop on the fly). They are used as a design tool. They aren't meant for show.
I spent the past week generating facade studies in rhino and vray for the project I am currently on. One struggle I had in grad school was when I moved to the computer I never knew how to show progress to my studio professors. We would huddle around the computer screen and I would orbit around my messy model and I would assure them I was testing out different ideas. Now I recognize how it should have been done. You need to set up different views early on with a number of viewports opened (not just the default four). From perspectives to axons to orthographic drawings. Then produce versions to test different ideas. But stop and record your progress, render each view from the same vantage and compare. Print, pin-up, reflect.
COBE uses indesign as the thread to keep a constant record of a project's design progress. I have indesign open all day, I chapter different design studies, and populate pages with renderings and drawings I produce throughout the day. Then we print them and update our wall constantly. This creates an open dialogue with the firm as a whole, with the project team clarifying our individual roles and enables the firm to be set-up to have rotating pin-ups with Dan, the Creative Director and founder of the firm as well as our Project Director. We publish booklets at the end of each week to keep the narrative in motion for each project. It is an effective way to have something to show for and discuss at the end of each day.
COBE's office resides on the top floor of an old paper mill on an island in central Copenhagen called, Papirøen (Paper Island). The entrance is unassuming, the space is whitewashed with the exception of the exposed concrete beams and roof trusses. The layout of the office is an open floor plan with a mixing of architects, landscape architects, urban planners and interns. Conference rooms are at one end of the space and the model room is in the back. COBE employs around 80 people currently.
Certainly one of the more astounding perks to working at COBE is that they have a communal lunch everyday. Frokost is Danish for lunch, the food is fantastic and everyone shares a table in the ground floor space below. It's an easy way to meet others around the office and better enjoy the work day. The Danes know how to eat and take pleasure in their work.
Another wild aspect to working at COBE is they have an award wining project just outside their door. Krøyers Plads is a recently completed housing project in the center of Copenhagen's harbor area. The design concept was to introduce a modern interpretation of the industrial warehouses that define this area of the city and harbor. Krøyers Plads is just on the other side of the new Inderhavnsbroen bridge, the commute to COBE's office.
This post is intended to serve as a brief reference guide for future interns moving to Denmark. Since arriving, I have scrambled to sort out what I need to secure to begin work and settle in. The process can be confusing and vague at times.
[ 0 ] First you need a resident and work permit before leaving the states. Fill out a PR3 Form and a Danske Ark Form and send it to your firm for them to fill out the rest. Then book a flight to one of these locations and make an appointment. Note you have to pay a fee to begin the process. Use this checklist for reference. Do all of this 3-months in advance of your departure.
[ 1 ] After you have been given written notice from the Danish Consulate in NYC that you have been granted permit, print a copy to take through customs. You will need to get a CPR number after you have arrived to Denmark and find permanent residence.
[ 2 ] Finding housing in Denmark is brutal. I went with Airbnb to have a place initially and then start searching once I was here. What I did not realize however, is that you must have a permanent address (no hotel, hostel, nor Airbnb residence) to receive a CPR number. You must register your permanent address.
This blog is dedicated to documenting my 6-month internship at COBE Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark starting in January 2017. The content of this blog will be a live account of my observations relating to design, culture and the Danish lifestyle. I plan to contribute an assortment of material to this blog, ranging from photography, mapping, hand sketches, diagraming, as well as experimenting with new mediums and graphic styles. The themes I hope to delve into are general urban design fundamentals, the attention made to integrating old and new, public space in changing seasonal conditions, climate change and alternative energy infrastructure, and the traditional craft of furniture making in Scandinavia. All of which are subject to change as I explore.
I will attempt to publish at least one post per week, work schedule permitting. I am looking forward to experimenting with content and different mediums to record my stay in Copenhagen and build a catalogue of Danish design and cultural references. I can be reached by email at email@example.com while I am away.