Architecture internship in Copenhagen

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Anna, I'm 25 years old and I'm from Germany. I'm about to finish my master's degree in architecture at TU Darmstadt and right now I'm an architectural intern at KHR Architecture.

My name is Moa, I'm 24 years old and I'm from Sweden. I'm taking a gap year after my Bachelor of Architecture at Umeå School of Architecture and I'm also an architectural intern at KHR Architecture.

Why did you decide to study architecture?

Anna: My father is an architect, so my childhood home was filled with models and projects that I've always been fascinated by. In school I had a design subject where we had a topic in architecture and I really enjoyed that. Later on, I did some short internships in design and architecture and then I decided to study architecture.

Moa: When I was a kid, my parents built a creative room for me because I loved to draw and paint and I spent all my time there. After high school, I went on a trip to India where, in the desert city of Jaisalmer, I was inspired by its unique architecture. I decided to study architecture with the goal of contributing to future design. I find that many modern buildings lack 'soul' and I find it fascinating how architecture can have a big impact on solving environmental and social challenges.

How did you get an internship at KHR Architecture?

Anna: I was supposed to be an exchange student in the Netherlands, but it was hard to find a place to live, so a month before departure I started looking for other options. I had been in Copenhagen a year before and I really loved the city, so I googled architectural firms in Copenhagen and came across KHR Architecture's website, where I was able to apply at short notice.

Moa: I also found KHR on Google because I wanted to find an internship close to my friends and family in Malmö after studying for three years in Northern Sweden. I had been to Copenhagen many times before and I really loved the city as well.

What were your expectations for the internship and were they met?

Moa: The internship itself has been better than expected. I told them during the internship interview that I didn't know about the Rhino design program that KHR works in, but everyone here has been great about helping me learn how to use the program. I've been involved in many kinds of projects, and it's been great to try it out.

Anna: I've worked on two German projects. I didn't think there would be so many German projects and I didn't expect the meetings to be in German, so it was very surprising. I usually use a different 3D program at home, but I think I've learnt it along the way, which is great to be able to do now. The biggest surprise, however, has been the social cohesion here in KHR. In Germany I'm used to very formal workplaces, but here it's very sociable and I will definitely use this new experience as a frame of reference going forward. That can be hard for other companies to live up to!

Moa: I was very nervous when I started because I had never worked in an architectural office before, but it's just really nice to have lunch with all your colleagues here in KHR because everyone is so open. I also didn't expect school and the real world to be so different. I feel like my study was more abstract and here it's very practical.

Anna: It's actually the other way round for me. In my previous student job, I had a lot of focus on construction, but here I get to work more creatively at the earlier stages of the design process.

What are your tasks as interns at KHR Architecture?

Both: As an intern, you're not always involved in the design, but we attend the meetings to gain a holistic understanding of the project and the processes. We do 2D and 3D modelling, volume studies, as well as digital illustrations such as floor plans and diagrams.

What is your favourite thing about your time at KHR Architecture - both professionally and personally?

Both: Friday bar - but also that we have fun here while we work.

Anna: The best part is working with the friends you make as an international intern here. I didn't know anyone when I moved to Copenhagen, so it's been nice that there are several other international interns here that you become really close with. The Friday bars have been a great place to meet and chat with your colleagues, and it has evolved into us seeing each other outside of work hours as well.

Moa: I didn't know anyone in Copenhagen to begin with, and of course it takes a while to get close to each other, but everyone here in KHR is very open and many participate in the social events that we as interns often organise ourselves.

Which social event has been your favourite?

Both: We've had a crazy scientists party, wine tasting, table tennis tournament and a Christmas party with the North Pole as the theme. We organised that party ourselves, and it was also the best theme party we've had so far.

What does your future look like? What's the next step in your career?

Moa: I've just applied for a Master of Architecture programme in different places, so I'm waiting to see which city I'll be moving to this summer.

Anna: I have one year left of my master's degree and after that I'm looking forward to working as an architect. I don't know which country yet. On the one hand, I can see myself coming back to Copenhagen, but on the other hand, all my friends and family back home are also pulling me in.

How do you get inspired in your design processes?

Moa: I get inspired when travelling and on Instagram.

Anna: If I'm working on a project and need inspiration, I often look on Pinterest to find inspiration to create my own designs.

Do you think social media is a new kind of inspiration for your generation compared to older generations?

Anna: Yes, and I think AI is also a new source of inspiration that can give different ideas for a design.

Moa: Yes, but I also find that discussions with my fellow students, colleagues or family are a great way to get inspiration if I'm stuck in a design project.

What are the best and worst things about Copenhagen?

Both: The best thing about Copenhagen is that there is always something to do. There are many different events that you can go to when you have free time.

Anna: Every time I cycle over one of the many bridges here in Copenhagen, I get so happy to see the water, even in winter with snow and rain.

Both: The worst thing about Copenhagen is that everything is more expensive than in Sweden and Germany, but luckily you can get a good and free lunch here in KHR Architecture.

Was it hard to find a place to live in Copenhagen?

Both: No, we both found a room through Facebook groups and within a few weeks. The rent is between 6,000-7,500 DKK for a room here.

Do you have any advice for other students considering travelling to Copenhagen for an internship?

Moa: Do it! Although finding a place to live and making new friends can seem daunting, somehow everything works out. It's a unique experience and I think you grow from it both professionally and personally. In addition, KHR has an extremely good work-life balance here, so as an intern you always have evenings and weekends off.

Anna: If I had chosen to go on exchange instead, I don't think I would have gained as much knowledge about my future career. At the same time, I still feel that I have had some of the same experiences that an exchange semester would have given me, because I am in another country, improving my English and gaining a lot of new experiences and friends.

Interested in an internship as an architect in Copenhagen? Read more here.