An internship with The Bay Trust

The environment and sustainable building has always been of interest to me, engineering and the building trade have been part of my family’s fabric for generations. As a result of growing up travelling with my family, it’s led me to ask questions and see changes in sustainable building design and methods. A natural path for me to follow was to study architecture at University. Whilst I enjoyed the experience, after several years it felt like I needed to be immersed in a more vocational role, learning by doing. It was while pursuing other ideas of work within sustainable construction, that a family member suggested I look into an internship in sustainable building with The Bay Trust.

Three month research project

Initially I met with the Trust’s Chairman, Alistair Gould, who showed me around The Pines Calyx, which was inspiring to see and fascinating to hear about all the elements of its design and construction. It was during this time that I learnt of opportunities within the Trust to become involved as an intern, so applied as soon as I could. The placement, which lasted three months, saw me working on one research project, to develop a structural tile of which chalk is the primary component. The work was entirely hands on, incorporating all my interests in building, design and outcome. At the same time, thanks to established links previously made by the Trust, to know that this research would filter through to professors and people at the height of the architectural, sustainable building and engineering industry felt very exciting to me.

to know that my research would filter through to people in the industry felt very exciting…

Seeing ideas come to fruition

The internship led to full time employment, meaning that my role extended from research on chalk tiles to other elements of sustainable design within the Trust. Something I’ve worked on in the past year has been the upcycled bar in the Pines Calyx, incorporating design skills whilst sourcing and upcycling materials already on site, such as granite from the Churchill statue and wood from waste pallets. It’s been rewarding to see some of my design ideas come to fruition in practical, daily use. Furthermore, my understanding of architecture and building methods are improving all the time as I learn on the job, and so personal goals are being met.

my understanding of architecture and building methods are improving all the time…

Full circle – welcoming new interns

Another part of my role has expanded to now recruit further interns for the Trust. We often take on students from reputable Engineering Universities like the Ecole de Mines in Nantes; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To accompany this, I’ll assist the interns with finding their feet, helping them find accommodation and navigate the area for their needs whilst on placement.

I’ll assist the interns with finding their feet, helping them find accommodation and navigate the area…

New skills in sustainable technologies

By working within the Trust’s facilities team I have found new skills and knowledge to add to my research role. Technology is crucial to the efficient running of the Pines Calyx, it’s also something I’m interested in, so have become the go-to person for all things technology! This means liaising with specialists and contractors for lighting, ventilation, heating and IT networks. It’s fulfilling to be involved in such a role; where learning and innovation is at its heart, whilst my own interests in the environment and sustainability are integrated. Not to mention the social side of the job, where we’ve organised plenty of activities and there is a great sense of community belonging.

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Kristian Bird

Kristian Bird

Sustainable buildings and infrastructure advisor

Kristian manages our internship programme and is the host for interns when accommodation is required. He also works for Helionix Designs the company behind the Pines Calyx