What it Means to Intern in Wallace Neff’s Office

Reporting from the first day of her internship, Aly Burkhalter (candidate for an MArch and the ICAA Certificate in Classical Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver) writes:

No, I am not interning for Wallace Neff, the Southern California architect largely responsible for developing the “California” style. But I do get to work in the room that was his office many years ago, and I hope some of his great knowledge rubs off the walls onto my humble sketches.

Now, it is not only the greatness and brilliance of Wallace Neff roaming about the halls of 180 E Colorado Blvd, but also the legacy and tradition of the architecture firm Moule & Polyzoides. Today, on my first day of interning, I worked on graphics for a book composing almost 30 years of practice into diagrams and techniques that will guide the next generation of Urbanists. As I was diagramming for the book, I didn’t dismiss these rudimentary drawings but I soaked up all that they were saying. They stood for a better built environment. They stood for educating the next generation on a better public realm. They stood for combating sprawl and promoting walkability. I won’t be ripping out freeways and painting bike lanes this summer. But I hope on my first day as an intern, I added a single page to a book that will help designers build a better future of beautiful, people-oriented spaces.

I bolster my generation, the next generation of New Urbanists, because I was given a firm understanding in informative and successional diagramming at UC Denver, but also a grasp of the issues at hand through CARTA and SCA. I know that these traditional forms and the legacy of Wallace Neff are rooted in sustainable practices but also promote community and social engagement. I have so much more to learn but I’m through with my first day.

Alyson Cruz Burkhalter

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