Just two days after our final presentations at Tsinghua, we were ready to begin our internship at Gensler in Shanghai. We started the day by waiting for the bus (the correct one this time) that we had missed the day before. The total commute was a little over twenty minutes, ten minutes by foot and ten minutes on the bus. The bus dropped us off across the street from the building located at One Corporate Avenue in Shanghai.
As you enter the building, you come into this grandiose clear-story lobby space, with elevator cores that serve the lower and upper halves of the building respectively. On the second floor there are a few commercial spaces like Bank of China, and a Jamaica Blue Cafe. In total there are twenty floors and our office was located on the ninth floor.
The Gensler office space consumes almost all the area of the ninth floor, so when you get off the elevator, you are practically in the reception area already. Adjacent to the reception area is a large conference room and the library. The entrance space bifurcates the rest of the office, which is divided into four program-based studios, work-flex 1, work-flex 2, interiors, and lifestyle. Each studio is set up to have a studio director and a design director as leaders of each studio. Within that, you have project teams made up of project architects, project managers, senior designers, intermediate designers, junior designers, and interns.
When you begin to walk around the studios, you can’t help but feel inspired. Lining all the walls are massive renderings of past, current, and future projects, in addition to physical models on top of desks, storage units, and dedicated display areas.
The first day was a little anti-climatic as we spent the majority of the day in new hire orientation. We got presentations from the HR department, the office librarian, and the IT staff, addressing things like frequently asked questions, CAD standards, and general office know-how. At the end of the day we got assigned to our desks and project teams, expected to be ready to go first thing the next day.