August 4, 2016 Bolen, Tarsi, Salawa Spend Summer Learning from Experts at Top Firm

IMG_6719 Mason Bolen L and other interns

Three students from the College of Architecture and Design spent Summer 2016 in Chicago, learning from top design experts at one of the world’s leading architecture and design firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The students are Andrew Tarsi, a second-year master of Landscape Architecture student; Marta Salawa, an undergraduate Architecture student from the Krakow University of Technology in Poland, who participated in the long-standing exchange program between the two universities in Spring 2016; and Mason Bolen, a second-year Architecture student.

“This has been a transformative experience,” Tarsi said. “Marta and I have worked in the City Design Practice within SOM, which is managed by Phil Enquist, the Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments. He has ensured we are exposed to every aspect of the design practice by placing us on a project in its early stages and seeing it through to the end. Our input and work are directly related to the changing climate of the project, which is invaluable as a student looking to gain experience and insight in the field.”

Andrew Tarsi (R) Intern Tower Charette

Tarsi and Salawa gained experience in the interdisciplinary nature of design, a trademark of SOM. The program included opportunity to learn from leaders in industries such as architecture, urban design, structural and civil engineering and interior design.

“Being able to join the SOM City Design team this summer has transcended everything I could have imagined,” said Salawa.

“The skills I have acquired from Poland and UT Knoxville have only been reinforced, while providing me with a new outlook on professional work on a global scale. The relationships formed within the intern group and City Design office alike are something that Andrew and I do not take for granted. I am grateful for the semester I spent in Knoxville studying, as well as my time here in Chicago.”

Tarsi added, “A further bonus of this experience has been traveling with project directors to our project site for client meetings, satellite design work and interface with the users for whom we are ultimately working.”

Tarsi and Salawa visited SOM-designed projects that have contributed to the fabric of Chicago, including The Hancock Tower, Millennium Park and Chicago Public Library: Chinatown Branch.

Mason Bolen worked in the Architecture Practice at SOM this summer, and his work involved The Lincoln Common in Lincoln Park.  Bolen was involved in the design development of the project, specifically redesigning aspects of the project’s public space, testing iterations of features of the towers and surrounding environment and building models for clients and the firm.

“This experience has allowed me to receive firsthand experience in the world that lies beyond my education and has given me a new perspective and outlook on how to approach the next three years of school,” Bolen said.  “Exposure to all aspects of design requires you to use all that you have been taught and apply those things to an authentic context and environment.


“The relationships I have made throughout the summer with interns and professionals, alike, have made this experience that much more special.  Receiving the opportunity to work for SOM has been an experience unlike any other and one for which I will always be truly thankful,” he said.


Photo 1:Mason Bolen, far left, with Marta Salawa, left, Andrew Tarsi, back, and other interns at SOM in Chicago during summer 2016

Photo 2:  Andrew Tarsi, right, at Intern Tower Charette

Photo 3:  Marta Salawa, left, at Intern Tower Charette