I was studying architecture in the 4th year at Yangon Technological University in Hmawbi north of Yangon when I heard about Article 25’s project at Yangon General Hospital. Since I was interested in the reinvigoration of the hospital and also wanted to get in some work experience while still at university, I applied to be a Local Assistant Architect with the Article 25 team based at the hospital for my long vacation October-December. As I am still only a student, I was not sufficiently qualified to work on drawings but I was very happy to help with the translation from English into Burmese of advice notes for the hospital. Through that translation I learned new vocabulary in English – such as morgue! – and also learned about the different requirements and rules for different buildings on a hospital campus. My colleagues in the team always offered me the chance to attend meetings, where I could learn more about the needs of our clients, the medical facilities and hospital administration.
My colleagues also kindly explained to me how to use new computer applications and it was a great opportunity for me to learn how international architects work and to see the differences between business architecture and a charitable organisation.
In the Article 25 Yangon office with Khin Kyi Htet (Article 25), Kim Kyi May (Article 25) and Christian Knight (Michael Hadi Associates)
During my short-term attachment, I was also able to get involved in Cycle Expedition Myanmar, and was kindly sponsored to participate by BRE (Building Research Establishment) from the UK. I accompanied the team of professional architects and engineers on a bicycle for 10 days through the centre of Myanmar, cycling 800 km up and down mountains. We called on rural health clinics in order to carry out research with the aim to develop a design guide for their improvement. This was a very memorable experience for me, which I hadn’t expected. I was not a serious cyclist before but I managed to finish the trip without getting on the bus! It was also interesting to see the – not always positive - reaction of local people to a Myanmar woman on a bike.
With the Cycle Myanmar Team at a Rural Health Centre introducing the project to the local centre staff.
On a professional level, I was able to see how international architects work on different tasks and what kind of basic requirements needed to be incorporated in the design guide. I am happy that my translation helped the whole team and I could show them the beautiful iconic places of Myanmar. I believe the experiences I have had both at YGH and in the countryside will be very helpful for my future architecture studies.
With the Cycle Myanmar Team after a long days cycle.