Intern Spotlight: May Lee Birks

Studio News 01.19.2023
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We are thrilled to present the work of intern, May Lee Birks! May Lee was a full-time summer intern who extended her employment with us into the Fall on a part-time basis. Currently pursuing her Master’s in Architecture at Cornell University, May Lee is an outspoken advocate for the ways in which architectural practice should (and ultimately, must) address the escalating climate crisis. Her initial interest in architecture derives from the built environment’s capacity to shape how we engage with the world and our communities, often in ways that are too subtle for an untrained eye to notice. May Lee was initially attracted to COOKFOX because of the ethos of sustainability and biophilia that permeates every element of our work. Assigned three projects to work on over the summer, May Lee demonstrated a commitment to excellence that immediately made her an outstanding member of the COOKFOX team. Working with the interiors group to develop a stone finish package for project renderings afforded her new insight into the world of interior architecture. She also worked with teams in the studio to develop digital and physical models for other COOKFOX projects. May Lee cites her involvement with residential architectural projects as one of her most valuable experiences, given a lack of prior exposure. Considering the regulatory constraints applied to façade design in New York City, she explained that interiors offer another avenue through which architects can showcase aesthetic personality. Her attendance of site visits was another important experience, revealing the extensive thought which informs every stage of construction. Moreover, it was yet another opportunity to meet her colleagues. As she continues with her Master’s, we wish May Lee success in finding future opportunities that accord with her personal goals and values.