Name: Ben Lueders
Project: Writing and documentation of projects in WMZ for facilities.si.edu—focusing on facility projects at NMAH
School: University of Houston
I was an intern at the Smithsonian’s Office of Facilities Management and Reliability for three weeks in the summer of 2015. I came to the Smithsonian with a group of five student interns from the University of Houston, where I study architecture. During my internship I was mentored by Ryan Doyle, the OFMR building manager at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I spent my time at the Smithsonian researching the Institution’s many cultural facilities, and from those precedents studying the variety of ways that architectural design ties in with building maintenance and operations. I was able to utilize Smithsonian records to gain in-depth knowledge of the design process for several Smithsonian facilities, and I conducted a series of interviews with OFMR employees across the Institution’s campus to learn about the day-to-day functioning of the buildings they are responsible for.
As an architecture student, it was very interesting to see how the Smithsonian’s cultural facilities function, long after construction is completed. Building operations post-construction is not particularly emphasized in design school, so I was able to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I felt very fortunate to speak individually with several OFMR employees who are tasked with operating the Smithsonian’s incredible facilities. I was able to meet many great people who seem to love their jobs and be very dedicated to their work. I learned a lot of valuable technical information during my internship at the Smithsonian, but I also experienced a fantastic work environment where everybody is very connected to their responsibilities and excited about the work they do.