A Letter from Ted Crawford, Student Intern
03 20 2018
Arium: Architects, Engineers, and Good People
Complimentary polos, friendly, intelligent workers, and unlimited candy at reception: according to my limited work experience, these are some of the attributes of a great work environment.
My name is Ted Crawford, I am a senior at Marriotts Ridge High School in Howard County, and for the past 6 months I have been with Arium | Architects and Engineers working as a student intern. Over the course of my professional relationship with Arium, I have gained an immeasurable amount of experience, learned new, fascinating information regarding design intricacies, and have even performed a good bit of research regarding a pertinent topic in the field of design. More on that later, though, let me tell you about some of my experiences here!
My first day arriving in the office, my boss and advisor Scott Walthour had me play around on AutoCAD, an integral program in their processes of drafting and design. With my immense level of High School experience (an oxymoron in and of itself), which included becoming proficient with AutoDesk Inventor, I figured my skills and knowledge would transfer entirely to AutoCAD.
After a few assignments during which I was tasked with adding minimal overlaying pipes, wiring, etc. onto existing floorplans, it was made very clear to me that I was still a bit of – a lot of, rather – an AutoCAD amateur. Since then, with the encouragement, advice, and periodic tasks provided by Mr. Walthour, I have gotten much more comfortable with the program.
Although my lack of grace with AutoCAD limits me to a certain level of difficulty with the projects, it does not stop me from contributing to the company in other ways. Many times, when I am in the office, I am tasked with peer reviewing floorplans where I verify calculations, and note values correspondent with various zones or rooms. Although sometimes, especially if the floorplan is sprawling and jam-packed with rooms, the process can be a bit arduous, I find that going through these floorplans helps me not only to better understand what exactly it is I’m looking at, but also to show me some of the steps, tricks, and details that go into designing a space.
These floorplans, and more so my unknowingness as to why they were assembled in the ways that they were, inspired me to do design research – something which I hope can aid Arium’s design process, or provide helpful information in any way.
The topic I decided to research is regarding the particular layout of office spaces, and what design elements promote worker efficiency. Interestingly enough, according to a study conducted by Timothy Lister and Tom DeMarco, it was found that the physical workspace has the largest effect on the output of employees. To further this information, I did some searching and found numerous intriguing details regarding what bolsters productivity; from vibrancy of the colors on the walls, to the ability of workers to easily distance themselves from their workspace for short amounts of time, there are incredible amounts of different subtleties that can be implemented into an office space to help employee’s focus.
The main takeaway from my research, however, is that all of these subtleties must be modified to suit the needs of the company, and the work performed there. Nevertheless, my journey with Arium thus far has provided me with experiences and information
not provided to an average, aspiring high-school engineer, and I am beyond proud to be, however small, a part of their company.
Although I have but three months left with them, I am sure the opportunities provided by Arium will remain with me for many years to come.