From Morocco to Paris, Architecture students explore a new world of design

From Morocco to Paris, Architecture students explore a new world of design

Thanks to an unexpected opportunity in spring 2017, three Architecture students found themselves interning for a unique, progressive design firm in Paris for the summer. Anran Li and Boris Angelov attended Linna Choi and Tarik Oualalou’s Design Option Studio through the Architecture department in spring 2017, where they encountered the architects’ innovative style and wide variety of projects. The class took them all the way to Morocco for onsite work on one of the firm’s projects. Noa Machover attended one of their lectures on campus. Thirsty for more, all three students landed internships with the firm’s Paris office and began a summer of interdisciplinary work and discovery.

Independent projects

Each student worked on his or her own project, collaborating with other members of the Oualalou+Choi design team. Angelov continued his work from the spring course, examining an abandoned monastery in Azrou, Morocco, and determining which buildings should be demolished and which remodeled as part of a site overhaul. Machover supported a variety of projects, from creating renderings of speculative projects to helping build an installation at the Pantheon for the celebration of Bastille Day. Finally, Li contributed to the design of an inflatable pavilion for the Moroccan Embassy in Paris. The pavilion will soon debut on the Champs de Mars, the park in front of the Eiffel Tower, and then will travel to other locations around the world.

A team environment

From the beginning of their internships, the MIT students felt welcomed and integrated into the firm’s international team. In addition to the personal value of this experience, Li notes that “the diversity [of the team] reflects the firm’s ability to hire very versatile employees who can complete a wide range of tasks.” This open, inclusive environment created a strong bond between the co-workers, and hierarchy took a backseat to creative collaboration. “I feel a newfound respect and passion for the field of architecture,” notes Machover, “and I feel that I have a place within the field after contributing to the work of the firm.”

My internship in Paris gave me an opportunity to look beyond just buildings and really examine social dynamics in a city which consists of various demographics. Working with different groups and representatives of institutions I was able to expand my scope of skills and look beyond the design aspect of architecture. – Boris Angelov