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Building a mecca of architecture: Reinis Pakulis interns at MS&R Design in Minneapolis

Home to 20 pristine lakes, an intricate and expansive skywalk system, and the friendliest people in the U.S, Minneapolis became the internship destination for Reinis Pakulis, Latvian architecture intern. During his 11-month training at MS&R Design, Reinis would get hands-on experience with new software (such as REVIT), analysis tools, and the protocols involved in this particular office. He kicked off his initial month with an onboarding introduction to the professional practice standards of MS&R, worked on an advanced building envelope research, catalogued best practices against industry standard and codes, and did a LEED criteria review. In collaboration with PLACE, a nonprofit developer, MS&R worked on a creative mixed-use project in nearby St Louis Park, MN. The project comprised of 300 live/work units, a hotel, an urban forest and an organic waste recycling center with greenhouses for growing produce for the community. Reinis’s hand in this project was to complete the building’s daylight analysis and energy modeling. In addition, his talents were harnessed for a Wall Assembly research project and a project on the Montana Library. His supervisor, Garth Rockcastle, Principal in Charge of MS&R Design, inspired our interns with his 33 years of field expertise. While maintaining an active role with the firm and launching MS&R’s Maryland/DC office, Garth served as Dean of the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation for six years, and taught at the University of Minnesota College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture for more than 25 years.

Reinis boosted his career enrichment by attending several professional events, including a tour of the Molin Concrete Products factory, a Eureka Recycling tour, a corporate field trip to scope out the architectural wonders of Chicago, and attended the Center for Sustainable Building Research. His cultural impact on the community around him was found in the connections he made with the locals: by sharing his experience about Europe, its history and places to visit. His greatest professional achievement during his sojourn was having mastered new analysis and presentation tools, notably the Virtual Reality headset. His personal achievement was a 111 km bike ride around Minneapolis, a new feat for him…for the time being.

His advice for future Fellows: “Embrace everything that’s about to come, be outgoing, tip bartenders, and fear the winter!” Sound advice Reinis, thank you!