March 28, 2023

Republic Feature Story: Emily Benevides

“One thing on my bucket list is to go to Rome and see the architecture.” Rome and Sydney, Australia for the Sydney Opera House are two of Emily’s bucket list destinations, and they represent two of the architectural styles she likes the most: Classical and Contemporary.

Emily Benevides is spending internship hours with Republic as part of her Met School curriculum. Met Schools are high schools that combine academic work and hands-on learning through internships. At Met Schools, students are given the opportunity to explore their interests and career goals by spending time in the real world.

We sat down with Emily to talk about architecture, design, life as a Met School student, her SketchUp versus Revit skills, and exploring career possibilities. Like a seasoned worker, Emily started by saying: “I’m actually going to a site visit after this.” No wonder she fit right in!

NC: Which season do you like the most and why?

EB: I like Fall the most because I like sweaters and it’s comfortable, and the leaves are pretty. In Fall, it looks nice outside.

NC: Tell me three things you want people to know about you.

EB: I’m very energetic, I’m kind, and I do not like Winter.

NC: You said energetic; do you play sports or is it something like creative energy?

EB: Both. In middle school I played volleyball, but I’m also just a very energetic person. I’m not extroverted but I’m also not introverted. I’m very excited to talk to people and being in the Met (School) helps that a lot.

NC: What interests you about architecture/design? Why?

EB: When I started looking into it, the first thing that got me into architecture was the idea of designing a building. Having it designed on a computer or drawn out on a piece of paper, and then going through construction and seeing it built, being able to use it and walk in it. That’s the satisfying part, saying I built that, or I designed that.

NC: Going back a bit – you mentioned Met School. How is it different from other schools?

EB: For us, it’s focusing on you, focusing on your interests. Every Tuesday and Thursday, it’s the student focusing on what they like, what they want to do in the future. We go on these internships and interviews that focus on our interests, and mine is architecture. We have our normal curriculum that we follow on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but we also adjust the curriculum to our interests. For example, if we want to be journalists, we’ll focus on writing little journalism pieces.

NC: Do you have a favourite building or structure? What is it and why is it your favourite?

EB: The Sydney Opera House. I did a project on Architectural Styles, and that one was in it because it was contemporary. I like the shape of it, it’s very abstract.

NC: Have you been to the Opera House?

EB: No, but I would love to go.

NC: Any architectural style you like most?

EB: Futurism has always been very cool to me. I did a project on it last year. I do like Classical; going to Rome is on my bucket list. After Classical I like Contemporary, mostly for the Sydney Opera House.

NC: How has your time been at Republic? Are you enjoying it?

EB: Amazing! It’s been very good. Sometimes in places like high school you don’t like everyone, but here everyone’s very nice, everyone’s very kind. Everyone welcomed me in and I feel like I’m a part of the team. It’s very nice here!

NC: Why did you choose to spend your time at Republic? How did you find us?

EB: This was the first place I came across and I set up an interview with (Principal Architect) Shane. From the start, he was just on board! Republic was just the one, so I started here.

NC: Are you thinking of going into Architecture? Interior Design? Something else in the architecture/design field?

EB: Definitely! I’ve been looking into interior design as well. I came in with an open mind, knowing that I might potentially see other things that I’d like better than architecture, but architecture is still on the list. I do still want to venture into engineering a little bit because there are a lot of different paths I can take from that.

NC: What did you learn during your time at Republic?

EB: When I first got here, I looked through design papers and drawings. I learned a lot about the vocabulary used when describing plans. With Sketch Up, I’ve become a bit more familiar with the tools on it, but if someone asks me how to use Revit, I will blank out: I have no idea how to use that! Vocabulary has been a big thing that I’m learning, along with software.

NC: What has been the most valuable experience for you at Republic?

EB: The interactions. What I’ve seen so far, as an architect, you’re zoned-in on your own thing. I was talking to Mélanie and César and they were telling me that when you’re in school for architecture, they don’t teach you how to interact with clients. One takeaway is how to interact with the people around you.

NC: This interview will be on the website (blog) and social media, so that’s a good range of audience. What do you want people to take away from this interview?

EB: I would like people to know about the Met School because I think it’s a great opportunity to focus on their interests, which is great. You get to look into your future at what you want to do. you have four years to decide what you really want to do and to investigate all things.

Being here [at Republic] helps even more because I’m not just researching what does this job do, I’m interacting with people who have been to school and have gone through all the post-secondary they need for it [architecture, design, engineering].

I want people to know that with Met School there are different paths, different possibilities you can take. You learn a lot of things from your resume, your cold calls, and how to talk to people, which is very overlooked now as our ability to socialize with people has dropped.

NC: What advice do you have for students like you who aspire to be in the field of architecture/design?

EB: I did an interview with an architecture professor from the University of Manitoba. The question she gets asked a lot, and I asked her this question, was: “Do you need to know how to be creative and how to draw?” She said no. You don’t need to know how to draw a house at the start because it’s a learning experience. They teach you design, how to draw a basic 3D house. You’ll learn along the way; you don’t need to know everything!