Many will tell you their firm is the best place to be a designer, but we truly believe Garvin Design Group is. 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. 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 really matters: making a positive impact by doing what we love.

Interning the Garvin Design Group Way

Garvin Design Group is a teaching office. We encourage young professionals to take on real design challenges, entrust them with significant responsibility, and enthusiastically support them through attentive one-on-one mentorship. We actively seek aspiring architects to join our summer studio during their degree programs or as full-time architectural staff upon completion of their undergraduate or graduate degrees. We know the impact strong mentors have on young designers, and we are committed to providing our firm’s newest members with the same hands-on experience we received in our early days.


Garvin Design Group interns hit the ground running: from their first days in our firm, interns are involved in all aspects of ongoing projects. Our interns 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, Garvin Design Group involves interns in design conversations throughout the life of a project. Our small studio size and the number of our varied projects create opportunities for those early in your career. 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.


Garvin Design Group’s approach to meaningful mentorships defines the internship experience. 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.


See what Clemson School of Architecture student Nicole Coker has to say about interning with us.

Choosing Columbia

We know that young designers have opportunities in glamorous places like Charleston, Greenville, Atlanta, and Charlotte, but we believe that Columbia is the best place to launch a design career. Here are three big reasons to choose Columbia:


1. What you do here matters.

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 19 years – in many ways, our firm’s story is the story of Columbia’s revitalization. What better way to embrace the power of design than to practice in a place still undergoing metamorphosis? When you design in Columbia, you make an outsize impact on a state capital city.


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. You can afford to have fun here.

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. Check out this guide for a cost-of-living comparison (spoiler: Columbia’s the most affordable).


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Columbia Quick Facts


15 minutes
average commute time
top 30
most livable American community
top 10
best weekend getaways in the South
People wearing baseball hats sitting in green stadium seats and waving to the photographer.