Hey there, Clemson Tiger
We’re looking forward to meeting you at Career Expo 2024 on Wednesday, February 21! Scott Garvin, Terry Buchmann, Liza Brockman, and Brittany Lapple will be representing our firm at the Career Expo this year, and they’ll have great insight into working in our firm. Until then, check out the seven frequently asked questions below to help you get to know Garvin Design Group. The video clips provide additional perspectives from recent GDG interns.
Make sure you sign up to interview with us.
A little bit about us:
1. What kind of work does GDG do?
We are an architecture, interiors, and planning firm with expertise in design for higher education, adaptive reuse, hospitality, and a wide array of other commercial uses. Our project portfolio includes collegiate athletics, hotels, restaurants, apartments, offices, event venues, performance spaces, and churches. We work all over the state of South Carolina, and sometimes a little further afield, too. We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and it’s been fun reflecting on the great diversity of our firm’s work.
Check out all of the services our firm offers on this page.
2. What skills will I gain while I’m with GDG?
Garvin Design Group interns and new hires hone technical skills in REVIT, Adobe Design Suite, Enscape, ProCore, and PlanGrid. They also practice key soft skills in collaboration, critical thinking, time management, and client interface.
New teammates hit the ground running: from their first days in our firm, new teammates are involved in all aspects of ongoing projects. Our interns and new hires learn about construction details, make site visits, help complete punch lists, and meet with engineers and clients. Rather than relegate them to busy work and menial tasks, we involve interns and new hires in design conversations throughout the life of a project.
3. How will GDG help me transition from my school environment to professional practice?
Garvin Design Group’s approach to meaningful mentorships defines the internship experience. GDG mentors are prepared to help new teammates with everything from navigating our internal software and processes, to implementing new REVIT skills, to finding the best lunch spot in the neighborhood. GDG mentors help you feel both effective and comfortable as a member of our team. In 2019, the American Institute of Architects – South Carolina (AIA SC) recognized our firm’s outstanding teaching atmosphere through its prestigious Firm Award.
We are proud to provide a vibrant environment for new professionals to confidently tackle design challenges supported by mentors who champion their creativity, growth, and ambition.
4. What does a typical day at GDG look like for new teammates?
There’s no such thing as a “typical” day at GDG – we love that the variety of our project types, locations, and design timelines make every day unique. Your task list may alternately include: designing floor plans, meeting with clients and/or a project design team, adding furniture to existing plans, creating renderings, implementing design in existing drawings, and compiling presentations.
Our regular studio hours are 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8 am to noon on Fridays.
Brittany facilitates a programming and analysis activity with clients
alexandra takes field measurements
Sam works with Jon Michael to create floor plans in REVIT
interns make a site visit to a project under construction
5. How will joining the GDG team help me in my path to licensure?
We’re intentional about making sure interns and new hires work on a wide array of different projects in various phases. This ensures everyone gets experience in all six NCARB practiced-based AXP categories for licensure.
6. Who are you looking to hire?
We’re looking for a few new teammates. You may be in the final years at Clemson or preparing to graduate this spring. You may be an undergraduate student or a graduate student. You may even be looking for an opportunity to focus on interiors – we’re especially looking for someone ready to jump in with our interior designers Kim Moon and Liza Brockman.
7. Why should I choose GDG?
You can get great technical experience at many firms, but you won’t find a studio culture like ours anywhere else. We all do our best work when we champion causes we believe in, support our community, invest in our team, and have fun doing it. Our commitment to these values keeps us focused on what matters most: making a positive impact by doing what we love.
We know you’re not just another aspiring architect versed in all the latest software. You’re a design collaborator, an aspiring creator, a potential new lunchtime crossword puzzler, and maybe a master of pun-slinging. As an intern, you are truly part of our firm’s work and our firm’s culture, including our outings – this includes our annual, weekend-long firm retreat in Charleston.
3 REASONS TO CHOOSE COLUMBIA
We know you’re not just looking for the best place to launch your design career – you’re also looking for the best place to live. Here are three big reasons to choose Columbia:
1. WHAT YOU DO HERE MAKES AN IMPACT.
We believe in design as a form of community engagement, and in the power of commitment to place. Garvin Design Group was founded in Columbia and has made important contributions to the city’s transformation in the past 20 years – in many ways, our firm’s story is the story of Columbia’s revitalization. When you design in Columbia, you make an outsize impact on a state capital city. Columbia ranked #4 in WalletHub’s Best Cities to Start a Career in 2023.
2. THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO.
It’s probably the South’s best-kept secret: Columbia is a cool place. Columbia offers events and activities on par with a bigger city with all the charm and ease of a smaller town. From Main Street’s Soda City market on Saturday mornings to tubing on the rivers to the Tasty Tomato Festival, there’s more to do than you can cram into any given week. And we’ll help you start exploring: Garvin Design Group interns take part in Capture Columbia, a series of special insider-only experiences at various locations to give you a deep dive into the Columbia community.
3. LIVING HERE IS AFFORDABLE AND EASY.
No sitting in traffic, no spending half your paycheck on rent – in Columbia, you can afford to go to happy hour, and it won’t take you forever to get there. The cost of living in Columbia is 6.47% lower than Atlanta, 6.38% lower than Charleston, and 5.03% lower than Charlotte.
Plus, there are many apartments available within walking distance of our studio and all points of interest downtown. Just type our office address (1209 Lincoln Street) into Zillow and check out how many units are available within a few blocks. Thanks to the large population of students in Columbia, finding a summer sublease is easy!