This summer, interns Lily Jackson, Alvin Laguerre, and Grace Bartko brought new perspectives to Axis, as well as a passion for high design. Over the course of the summer, this talented trio has worked on office and auditorium renovations, door schedules, multi-family projects, the new Family Resource Center for VIPS Indiana, the elephant walk at the Indianapolis Zoo, the Harrison Center, and Options Charter School. It’s been an honor to have Lily, Alvin, and Grace intern for us, and while we will miss their energy and creativity, we wish them the best as they had back to school.
Lily Jackson // Interior Design – Purdue University, 2020
Since she was a child, Lily Jackson has been crafting and creating. So, when she started the interior design program at Purdue University, it seemed natural. “It just manifested from other creative things I was doing,” she says. “It made sense that I went in that direction.” Lily was drawn to Axis because of our portfolio and clean, modern style. She also liked the collaborative atmosphere and appreciated the opportunity to gain real-life experience. “At school, the projects you do are sort of imaginary,” Lily says. “It’s different when you have a space to walk through.” She appreciates the opportunity to explore project spaces firsthand and work directly with clients. “[They] have a role in what you design and how you change your design, which is something we don’t really deal with in school,” she says.
In addition to developing designer-client relationships, Lily is working on an office renovation for Buckingham Companies, the new Family Resource Center for VIPS Indiana, and Options Charter School. She is determined to improve the function of a space and create environments people want to spend time in. Lily does have a soft spot for healthcare projects, though. “Those are the ones where you feel like you made the most impact,” she says. “Like you’re actually helping and improving people’s lives.” When asked about some of her favorite buildings in Indiana, Lily cites the White Chapel at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the Miller House. She describes the latter as one of the coolest places she’s ever been. (We agree.) Lily also would love to travel to cities and places that she studied in her art history classes. “When you know all about a place, then get to see it in person, the experience is much more meaningful,” she says.
Alvin Laguerre // Architecture – Ball State University, 2020
Alvin Laguerre has always wanted to study architecture. As a child growing up in Haiti, he took note of the country’s different types of architecture, building materials, and building quality. While the structures themselves were intriguing, Alvin found himself drawn to the stories behind them. “I realized that if I studied architecture, it would teach me to set up stories,” he says. By studying the art of defining spaces, Alvin knew he could help create backdrops to life around him, and use his skills to serve the community. “Design is meaningless if it isn’t benefiting or ameliorating the current condition of an individual’s life,” Alvin says. “From providing affordable housing to underrepresented communities to simply inspiring occupants of a space, there should be means to serve others.”
Alvin inherited his sense of altruism from his parents, who believed Haiti was a country with endless opportunity. They created avenues to serve the Haitian people, setting up boutiques, restaurants, and cafes – all places Alvin grew up visiting or assisting at. “I was led to understand that I was to do more than just observe the hardship of others, but instead serve in an array of communities,” says Alvin. These values have influenced his approach to design, which frames spaces where occupants can draft innumerable narratives. This mindset comes in handy at Axis, where Alvin is working on the Phalen Leadership Academy Arts & Cultural Center auditorium renovation, the Harrison Center, the Frankfort Bathhouse Renovation, and the Elephant Walking Trail at the Indianapolis Zoo. He appreciates the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and is learning how to be more technical. His dream project, though, would resemble the setting for the film Blade Runner: cyberpunk. “It’s something futuristic – something post-apocalyptic – that is beautiful, but kind of destroyed. It takes two different concepts and merges them together.”
Grace Bartko // Architecture & Historic Preservation – Ball State University, 2020
Grace Bartko likes to joke that she should’ve been born in the 1860s. “I like old homes and structures, and I try to go out and save as many as I can,” she says. “Buildings are meant to be used and lived in.” Grace has always had a not-so-secret soft spot for historic properties, so it’s no surprise she can picture herself owning one. “I have this vision of myself living in a spooky house,” she says with a laugh. “That kooky old lady in her big, spooky house.” For now, though, Grace is studying architecture and historic preservation at Ball State University. After she graduates next year, Grace wants to focus on rehabilitating historic structures. “They give people the chance to look back to the past and see where they come from,” she says.
Take the Morton Center in West Lafayette, for example. The former elementary school was constructed in 1930 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s been used as a community center since the 1980s, but Axis is working with the City of West Lafayette to move the city hall there. Grace is working on the door schedule for the building and is helping her team clean up the documents for when they get sent out. In addition to the Morton Center, Grace is helping with East + Main Flats in Plainfield, Lancaster Lofts in New Albany, and Haywood Printing. She appreciates the opportunity to work in a collaborative studio and finds the projects thoughtful and intriguing. “There’s a fresh feeling here in the office,” she says. “I can’t stress that enough.” Ask Grace what inspires her, and she’s quick to mention Alexander McQueen. As a fan of the macabre, she finds his darkly romantic, gothic-inspired designs empowering. “He didn’t want women to look innocent and naïve,” Grace says. “He wanted them to look strong.”