What do WOLF intern Sabastien Barbier and Taras Wolf have in common?
Apart from studying architecture at the University of Melbourne, they both attended the United World College of South East Asia (UWC SEA) for their secondary education.
Located in Singapore this school is a full member of the UWC movement and is regarded as one of the best International schools in the world. For over 40 years it has offered mission driven and value based international education to students from around 100 different nations. The UWC movement uses education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
This philosophy has clearly influenced the work of WOLF Architects who share very similar beliefs. Sabastien joined the team as an intern and is now a valued WOLF team member.
What Sabastien has to say in his own words:
3 years after having graduated from high school in Singapore, I attended a Melbourne reunion for that school, United World College of South East Asia. I was initially nervous, not knowing how many people would show up, and if I would even know anyone at all. However, I was amazed to enter a room full of people, varying in age, race and gender. I was going back and forth between catching up with some old friends and meeting other UWC alumni, all of which seemed strangely familiar despite not knowing majority of the people. Although we had our school in common, we got along as if there was more than just that. It felt like I had just walked into a room of relatives and extended family, where everyone was welcoming and friendly, but most strikingly, extremely diverse. I had spoken to alumni who worked in automotive electronics, alumni who attended UWCSEA at its opening, as well as people who had come in from all corners of Australia.
It was about mid-way through the event that Taras Wolf’s name came up. He invited me out for lunch one day, where we chatted about UWCSEA, architecture, and common courses and subjects we had both studied at school and at university. We soon realised that we had taken very similar paths, except 30 years prior.
Fast forward a few months, I was interning at his firm in Melbourne, where I got to meet the people behind Wolf Architects: all with different backgrounds, stories and passions. It is an office that could not resemble anymore that of a UWCSEA classroom, an environment where education was deliberately diverse in the aim of uniting people, ideas and cultures. Beyond the permanent team are interns and clients, who with even different backgrounds and overseas jobs, further emphasise the notion of multicultural recognition and discovery within the firm.
This has been an incredibly interesting experience for me, working on real architecture (as opposed to school projects), with a team who make this scary leap so much easier. Having gone to school in a similar environment to that of Taras’, I have been able to understand and see how his ideals were shaped and how his open-minded problem-solving resolves issues to meet client, building and council requirements.
One of the biggest things I have taken from this internship is the importance of flexibility and acceptance, not just in a social environment like it was at school, but also in a professional environment where relations, opportunities and time can easily be lost.
Learn more about UWC at https://www.uwc.org/