A Chat with Peri Bowman, Architecture Intern
My name is Peri Bowman. I’m 21, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I’m currently midway between my Bachelor of Architecture and Masters of Architecture degrees and I’m here doing an internship with Paul Keogh Architects.
So, why Ireland?
I didn’t have a particular place I wanted to go. I’d finished my degree but I felt I didn’t really know what to do with my three years of learning. I didn’t know if it was actually enough to be able to work. So I wanted to get out there and see what I could do with what I learned. As part of our masters program, we have to write a thesis. I had no idea what I want to write about so I hoped working would help point me in the right direction. My friend Mia decided she was going to Ireland and asked me to come. So, here I am!
Has that direction come to you yet?
No, not really. I’ve been doing little bits and pieces of lots of different things. I haven’t really discovered a passion for, say, architecture underground or sustainable roofing or something like that. I haven’t had enough of an in-depth look at one type of architecture to get a gist of whether or not that’s something I’d like to research.
There’s still time! So, what has happened so far in your internship?
I’ve done a lot of graphic design. When I first arrived, I started a project from the get-go. So, I was doing surveys and drawing up site location plans, looking at how the plans of a house would go together. Then, I started working on something else, creating submissions for the Royal Irish Architecture Institute Awards. So, it was more graphic design and fixing up plans or drawings. Taking drawings that weren’t being used for construction and dumbing them down to their finest lines so that when you look at it you can get the gist of it without the dimensions and this-is-where-you-build-this-post kind of thing.
It was a bit frustrating. When you’re in university, you have the final say on what goes on the poster. When you work for someone else, it’s an interesting experience. Move this to the left. Don’t like this, can you make this lighter? It took me a solid four days to do one poster. And, that was after two weeks of dumbing the images down. It was quite stressful, but we got there in the end!
I’ve also done a lot of fixing up kitchen elevations or bathroom elevations, adding things to drawings… a light here, make this more recessed, and just generally fixing things up and getting a basic understanding of how it all works.
What have you learned working in a professional setting, specifically in an architecture firm?
There’s a structure to how it all works. My coworkers were all really friendly and receptive to all my questions (and I had a lot of them). I’m happy that this is the first place I’ve had to work.
Are you glad you’re pursuing architecture now?
I think it’s definitely something that I can pursue. I don’t think I’m the best at it. But I enjoy it. Hopefully, it’s something I can continue with.
What do you think of Dublin and Ireland so far?
One thing we’ve noticed is that the Emerald Isle is definitely a good name for Ireland. Back home, it’s green, but it’s that dead yellow-y green, whereas here it’s… green. It’s definitely very beautiful. Back home, we’ve got bush. Here, it’s just green everywhere. It’s a bit of a contrast – in a good way!
Architecturally-wise, particularly in my neighbourhood, we’re primarily timber, some brick here or there. Coming to all the terraced houses was extremely exciting. Coming here, you can feel the history.
I live in the suburbs of Melbourne so I don’t spend everyday in the city. Usually, I associate cities with highrises. Dublin essentially works the same way, just shorter.
I enjoy the hustle and bustle of it all. Grafton street is beautiful with the atmosphere. Stephen’s Green in the middle of it all.
Any favorite places?
Not specific places. It just all comes together as one for me. Coming back from our latest trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, I turned to Mia and said, “we’re home.”
How was Scotland?
It was amazing! I’d always wanted to go there. I knew it would be different but I didn’t really know that much about it. I got there and I went totally architecture fan girl. Everything was stone and monolithic. They were castles in themselves even if they were just houses. On the way into the city from the airport, we were sitting on the top deck at the front of the bus. Look down that street. Look at that! Look at this! We must’ve sounded mental. We were having fun. I’m pretty sure on my trip I took over 900 photos in five days. It was a bit excessive but I was enjoying myself!
I’m glad the trip was a success! Have you gotten to travel to any other places?
So far, we’ve kind of done the countryside. We’ve been to Donegal, Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher… I did the Game of Thrones tour where I went up to Northern Ireland. There’s still lots more to see.
What’s at the top of the list?
I definitely want to see Connemara. I’m excited for this mystery Stint Trip too. Colleen and Perrin did the Cork trip a few weeks back and I was thinking that could be interesting.
Did anything surprise you about Ireland?
Hmmmm… I don’t know. I guess it’s a bit more expensive than back home. I’m constantly trying to convert everything in my head.
No crazy Irishisms?
The first week I was here, I could understand 90% of what my coworkers were saying but then they’d look away and say something to someone else and I’ve be like I missed that entire sentence even though I asked you to say that three times… There were a few issues with language at first.
Honestly, I haven’t met that many Irish people because there are so many international people everywhere we go.
Yep, Dublin is a pretty diverse city. What advice would you give a new Stinter – fresh off the plane?
Take the time to explore! I arrived the week before I started at my internship. Everyday that week, I was out wandering the main streets. Get the main roads down. If you can find the main roads, you’ll know how to get home. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I had so many questions before I got here – it was ridiculous.
And, be yourself!
Ultimately, I’d say my experience in Ireland was absolutely incredible. I met some of the most amazing people who I will remember for the rest of my life!