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Abraham Bendheim Class of ’10.5

Graduation Year: 2010.5

Job Title: Master’s of Architecture Candidate at Columbia University GSAPP, Architectural Intern at SAS Solomonoff Architecture Studio, Freelance Designer

Current City: New York City, NY

Email: bendheima@gmail.com

Current Job Description: @ SAS: I do concept design, design development and construction documentation for exhibitions, residences, galleries, restaurants, and production facilities. (most clients are confidential please see website for more specific information that is released to the public http://www.solomonoff.com/). As a freelance designer: In addition to everything I do at SAS I also do some graphic design, branding, and oversee construction of small projects.

PCI Programs: Old Stone Mill Tennant, Solar Decathlon 2011 from the Old Stone Mill days to completion, Econ 455, Competition and Strategy, taught by Michael Claudon which due to scheduling conflicts was taught with the Midd core syllabus

What do you do on a daily basis at your job/project?

In my job I work between hand drawing, Autocad, Rhinoceros, and Adobe Creative Suites. I begin a design task by researching precedents and sketching concepts from there I often create a rough 3d model in Rhinoceros and finally create construction drawings in AutoCAD. The design is developed in each stage of the process because with each tool and mode of representation different aspects of the design reveal themselves.

Describe your work environment (independent research, working in groups or teams, etc.)

I work in a small architecture office. There are 8 full time employees in the firm, my self included. The projects I work on are all handled by a small team of two to four people.

Are you pursuing any other projects?

On the side I often partner with a friend to pull off design, branding or graphic projects. The partner changes depending on the scale and content of the work. I am currently working on a retrofit of a bar on the upper east side and in preliminary talks with a restaurant start up in Washington DC to design their first permanent space.

How did you get involved in PCI as a student?

Curiosity, a desire to learn how to apply what I was learning to the real world

What did you learn from your PCI involvement?

How to communicate value, how to position oneself to make the greatest impact, how to lead a team, how to communicate more clearly, how to speak more confidently on stage, how to balance a complex set of criteria when evaluating and developing projects, how difficult it is to run your own project,  how to collaborate and manage your friends with grace and sensitivity (all of these things I am still actively learning but I began to become aware of them through PCI projects)

Which of those things do you think about the context of your current job/class/life?

As an aspiring architect, everything I learned in PCI is extremely relevant. Architecture, for me, is about making things happen in the world regardless of the scale or content of the project. I think of an Architect and a team leader who must understand and define the project and then communicate to and between many other professionals to to make it happen.

How did your experience with PCI fit in with your larger Middlebury experience and education?

The projects I was part of in and around the PCI deified my middlebury experience. I was able to become more excited about my classes when I realized their relevance to my PCI projects.

What are some unexpected challenges you’ve had in your post-graduation pursuits?

It is really difficult to get anything done. Middlebury is an incredible place where funding and resources are at your fingertips. New York City is a whole different beast. There are not enough hours in the day. You can only do so much. Things take time to develop. Almost anything worth doing is very difficult to make happen.

What are some pleasant surprises?

I feel strangely prepared to tackle all of the challenges listed above. The resources and experiences at Middlebury illustrated what is possible if you go for it. It is amazing what you can make happen if you reach out, ask for help, and effectively communicate.

Where do you see yourself going in the future?

I hope to become an architect, but I understand the term in an archaic sense. It is not tied to any scale, medium or content. I want to use design to make the world a better place, to make people happier, healthier, more inspired, more peaceful, etc. I want to collaborate with and connect motivated, smart, intuitive people to bring beneficial projects into reality.

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