Pictured above left to right: Jeffery Chow, Sophie Chapman, Rhys Maxwell

Sophie Chapman is a 2019 Study Award recipient starting her second year of study for a Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Originally from Timaru, Sophie now lives in Christchurch and had the opportunity to work as a paid summer intern for a Keystone Trust sponsor, The Buchan Group.

“Over summer I had the incredible opportunity of being an intern at Buchan in Christchurch. Many students never get this opportunity and without Keystone and Buchan, I wouldn’t have either.

“I loved working at Buchan and learned so many things about the industry from learning skills on computer programs, going on site visits and just being able to see what architects do on a day-to-day basis. There’s much more to the job than what you get told.”

A highlight for Sophie was working alongside various project teams. The team at Buchan were very open to Sophie’s ideas which she was most impressed about as being a first-year student she felt she was not going to be able to add much value.  

“Buchan has a really awesome work environment,” said Sophie, “People with different levels and areas of expertise are all mixed in together which meant I had a lot of support during my time there. I have to give special recognition to Rhys Maxwell and Jeffrey Chow who taught me a lot and made sure I was involved and learning as much as possible.”

The team at Buchan ensured Sophie was made to feel like a contributing staff member. 

 “Sophie actively contributed to the studio with her fresh and creative thinking,” said Rhys Maxwell, Associate.   “She confidently added value to the project tasks she was involved with and was quick to adapt her knowledge from her studies to real-life architectural thinking and workflow. We felt privileged to be able to give Sophie real experiences on real projects that she could take away to assist in her development as a young architectural student.

“I still vividly remember being in the same shoes as Sophie as an architectural student and the appreciation I had when experiencing an architectural office for the first time. I hope that Sophie came away with the same positive outlook on the profession that made me continue my career progression as an architect.”

For Sophie, having the chance to work at Buchan has really crystalised her thinking, and affirmed that architecture is where she wants to make her mark.

“Jeff took the time to sit down and explain things to me so that I understood what I was doing which really helped.” Said Sophie.   “He also gave me some very handy tips that I will use in my future years at uni.” 

Buchan was so impressed with Sophie’s contribution, they have offered her additional work during term holidays and an internship next Christmas.

“We very much enjoyed giving Sophie the opportunity to work in our Christchurch Studio. As long-time supporters of Keystone it is not often that we see South Island architectural students coming through the programme, so it was great to support her,” says Raylene McEwan, New Zealand Practice Manager.

“With our ability to provide in-house, industry recognised Revit training and involve students and grads in a wide variety of commercial projects we are pleased our support has given her the confidence to pursue this career. As one of our younger members of staff Sophie brought a fresh and valued perspective to the office.

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