Ana Garcia ’14 and Emily Vollo ’14 have been named recipients of the 2013 Eric Cohler Internship and Travel Award, which provides them the opportunity to study abroad, as well as intern for Eric Cohler Design, Inc., in New York City.
The annual award, which is made possible by gifts made by Eric Cohler ’81, supports HWS students who are interested in design and/or the arts through both an internship and study abroad experiences. Award recipients gain insights into the world of architecture and a look at a wide range of career opportunities.
This summer, Garcia, an architectural studies and Latin American studies double major with a studio art minor, is studying in Santiago, Chile, exploring how the Latin American city is developing, and how its physical environment is shaped by its history. Vollo, an architectural studies major with minors in art history and classical studies, will travel to London during winter break where she will learn about design for film and theater production.
“I’m extremely honored that the committee chose me and my project as a worthy recipient,” Garcia says. “Santiago recently held a competition to choose the best urban plan for a redevelopment project of its Civic Quarter. My goal is to understand what the people of Santiago are looking to achieve through changes to their built environment and how this may affect the larger Chilean population. I have the incredible opportunity to explore a topic of my interest thanks to the Cohler Award.”
Garcia says traveling to Santiago will help to shape the final product of an honors project she’s working on in conjunction with her independent study work. She says careful analysis and new intellectual experiences will contribute to the overall research she has done so far and continues to pursue. She also says the internship will be an invaluable professional experience.
“I am delighted at the opportunity to experience firsthand the atmosphere of Mr. Cohler’s design firm,” says Garcia, who will work there over winter break. “I hope to absorb as much knowledge as possible of the design world.”
For Vollo, she’s looking forward to meeting and learning from some of London’s most distinguished production designers during winter break of 2014. Vollo also will spend time at the British Film Institute where she will study the sets of Britain’s most honored films.
“Using the knowledge I have amassed, I will choose a significant scene from a classic British film and redesign the set to meet 21st century standards. I will use London as my personal production studio and as the inspiration for developing my set design,” Vollo says.
The internship, Vollo says, was an important step toward fulfilling her career aspirations.
“Mr. Cohler and his team are incredibly talented and wonderful teachers. I learned so much from them,” says Vollo, who completed her internship in Cohler’s office last June.
“I spent most days picking out fabrics for several clients. I also helped scheme for different projects and collaged fabrics on different pieces of furniture in Photoshop to give Eric and his clients a better idea of what they were looking to create,” Vollo says. “I had a blast during my time there and gained a world of knowledge. I am hoping to return over fall break or around Christmas time to work again for a couple days.”
Professor of Art and Architecture Ted Aub says both students were excellent candidates to have received the Cohler Award this year. He says that both students’ proposals were well researched, unique, and were unlike past submissions.
“The committee felt both were deserving of research and development, especially in the way they plan to use the knowledge gained to lay the groundwork for future endeavors-academic and professional,” Aub says.
Aub says Garcia is a smart and hard-working student. Her proposal, Aub says, was theory-based, and includes architecture and international urbanism with a socially-conscientious point of view concerning issues of sustainability and the power to uplift inner city neighborhoods to support a healthy urban fabric. At the Colleges, Garcia currently is an Architectural Studies Teaching Fellow and an active member of the Architecture Society and Arts Collective.
Vollo is ambitious, creative, and bright, Aub says. Her project is in the direction of visually-based design, and will include touring and interviewing at design schools and firms in London. At HWS, Vollo is a civic leader for HWS Community Engagement and Service Learning and is president of Habitat for Humanity Club.
In readying themselves for their travel and internships, both Gracia and Vollo credit the Colleges for preparing them for these milestone experiences.
“Classroom experiences, such as ‘Architecture 200′ and the ‘Eric Cohler Readers College’ have helped me to strengthen my understanding of composition, form, space, and light,” Vollo says. “Working in a studio environment has introduced me to important concepts, such as model making and taught me the language necessary to communicate ideas both verbally and through drawings.”
Garcia says her time at HWS has helped establish a solid foundation for pursuing her aspirations.
“In a way, I feel as if all the classes and experiences I have gone through while at HWS have been preparing me to embark on this journey; from my architecture studios to my abroad experience,” she says. “Through my architectural studies classes I have learned the intricacies of a design process and the basic design principles that I will explore at Mr. Cohler’s firm.”
Cohler earned his B.A. in English and art history from Hobart in 1981. He holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the Columbia University School of Architecture and Urban Design, and a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Established in 1991, Eric Cohler Design, Inc., specializes in interior design and restoration. The firm is led by Cohler, dubbed the “Mixmaster” by magazine editors for using classical elements juxtaposed with contemporary materials for a jolt of unusual color or texture. His projects have included houses, apartments, and commercial spaces, across the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. This past semester, Cohler instructed a Readers College at HWS, which examined art and architecture in cinema.