With the assistance of the Eric Cohler Internship and Travel Award, Lauren Schwarzenberg ’12 will spend two weeks at Eric Cohler Design, Inc. after spending 10 days in Scandinavia studying industrial and humanitarian architecture.
Supported by gifts from Eric Cohler ’81, the annual award supports one student interested in design and/or the arts through internship and study abroad experiences. Through off-campus study, recipients of the award gain valuable insight into the world of architecture and a look at the wide range of career opportunities available.
“Scandinavia is known for progressive design – a lot of buildings there are sustainable,” says Schwarzenberg, an architecture and studio art double major. “They’re addressing issues we aren’t as concentrated on here – or anywhere else.”
Schwarzenberg, who became interested in humanitarian and industrial design after exploring it in classes this past semester, will spend 10 days traveling throughout Scandinavia – including Stockholm, Sweden, where she will shadow architects at two design firms before venturing into the city to explore the architecture herself.
Amongst her travel plans are a hotel in Stockholm that is heated using the body heat of those coming and going in the adjacent bus station and a night club in Rotterdam, Netherlands that is powered by the vibrations of the dance floor.
“The intention is to figure how stuff works – and see if it is successful in its design. These devices are so progressive they could be put to use into other situations,” explains Schwarzenberg, who hopes to determine whether these solutions are relatively simple or incredibly intricate – and how feasible such devices are in other settings. “There is the possibility they could be used in schools or office buildings. They could also help to solve sustainability problems.”
Equipped with a journal and sketchbook, Schwarzenberg also plans to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark – a city known for its bicycles – where she will see how the city has adopted this bike culture, and to Christiania, Norway, a sustainable village where she will investigate the process of their well-known bicycle dispenser.
“I like that all of these designs – the humanitarian designs – have a purpose and that they are made with the intention of empowering people,” says Schwarzenberg. “They are truly important and helpful.”
After examining architecture abroad, Schwarzenberg will return to the U.S. and spend her winter recess at Eric Cohler Design, Inc. where she will be paired with an industrial designer as a part of her internship. As part of the award, Schwarzenberg is also required to create a formal presentation to give to the HWS community during the spring semester.
Following graduation, Schwarzenberg plans to go on to grad school for industrial design. Eventually, she envisions herself working for a firm that allows her to explore many different areas of industrial design – including architecture of schools and design in developing nations.
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., located in NYC, 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.
On campus, Schwarzenberg is a member of the Christian Fellowship, the Campus Peer Ministry and the Architecture Society. She is currently serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Geneva at the West Street School and the Goodman Street Boys and Girls Club.