While writing this blog post, I noticed the Model S, Tesla’s top of the line electric vehicle, just got a software update making it faster and more energy efficient. To this day, the company never fails to impress me.
Nearly four months ago I concluded my architectural internship at Tesla: a time I consider an absolute pleasure and a great start to my professional career. I want to note that I did not seek out this internship as a car enthusiast, but due to my interest in the role that vehicles take in shaping the fabric of the urban design. In a holistic sense, I do not view Tesla as an automotive company, but rather a clean energy company that aims to change the world using sustainable sources. Nevertheless, they do have arguably one of the greatest cars on the market as one of their lines of product.
Tesla challenges people to view the world in new ways, it helped me see that success in a career does not always fit into our presupposed definitions. I want to share these three points that I believe help to summarize my experience with this extraordinary company.
1. Tesla is not an architecture firm.
Tesla factories are changing rapidly. Although Tesla is not known for its architecture, they have an in-house EPC Team (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) in order to keep up with the fast rhythm. It became exhausting at times, but I enjoyed how fast a project can be done since all resources are in one place.
2. No one knows what they are doing.
I consider it a privilege to work alongside highly motivated and creative individuals, they are creating something that has never been done before, and they are good at it, however, they recognize that they are still figuring things out. Everyone at Tesla believes they can keep improving on their work to the point of perfection, so lines are constantly changing and improving. In order to keep up with the changes in the factory, the architecture team redesigns every part of the factory to accommodate the newly designed lines. This approach deals with factories as living organisms, ever evolving.
3. They seek out all the help they can get.
At Tesla, titles are not important. They see the value in everyone involved. Rather than utilizing my hours for simple or mindless tasks, they recognized the potential for my skills to be utilized to meet their fast-paced schedule and high demands. Since day one, it was apparent that this was not a training exercise. My position as an Architectural Intern was an actual job with responsibilities and I was certainly up for the challenge. I contributed to senior and executive-level discussions. My tasks varied between construction documents, executive-level presentations, or schematic level diagrams. It was a privilege to work on the Tesla Gigafactory Berlin schematic design while being an undergraduate student.
Mahmoud is a senior architecture student at South Dakota State University. He grew up in Cairo, Egypt. His passion for design started with Adobe as Adobe Scholar, he then moved to the U.S. as an international Student to pursue architecture. Mahmoud had the opportunity to work for Tesla as an architectural intern during Fall of 2019. In Spring 2020 he will be graduating with BFA in Architecture and plans to pursue his M. Arch in Fall 2020 at South Dakota State University.