Architectural Ellipsis

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    Everyday Intern
    Nov 18, '12 1:38 PM EST

    As you might have gathered from the description in the sidebar, this blog is about the parts of the profession that we tend to gloss over, omit, or just don’t talk about; what I call an architectural ellipsis. Perhaps a few quick examples may be helpful in understanding what I mean.

    An architectural ellipsis may be the way we introduce ourselves at a cocktail party, “What do I do? Oh, I’m an inter- … I’m an architect,” and hope our new acquaintance doesn’t know anyone from the state licensing board. It's not that we are trying to advertise our services as an architect, just that it's too demeaning to say we're just an intern and explain what that means. Another ellipsis could be the way we say IDP only takes three years to get your hours, but know deep down inside it will probably take five to seven years. Sure, working for three years might give you the total quantity of hours you need to complete IDP, but what if you are hired as a CAD monkey and never get away from the carpal tunnel inducing world of AutoCAD?

    More to the point, the architectural ellipsis I’d like this blog to focus on deals a little with both examples. A fairly large architectural dot dot dot occurs right in the middle the the "traditional path to licensure"; NAAB-accredited degree, internship ... some tests, and then rubber stamp. We talk a lot about school, and we all focus on the end game, but in the middle is this gap we call an internship. We talk about numbers of hours in areas of focus, how many sections we have left to pass of the AREs, and all the other easily quantifiable things. Yet, we don’t really focus on what it is like to work as an intern architect. According to NCARB, IDP takes roughly as long as it takes to get your degree but compare the wealth of information out there about narrowing down, applying to and surviving architecture school to the single-sided propaganda of NCARB about the internship process.

    I'm fairly certain that the architecture community as a whole would rather talk about the glory days as a student staying up nights in studio than braving paper cuts to finish scanning a set of as-builts as an intern. Even Archinect acknowledged and focused their blogging platform first on schools. There are now a few blogs that mention internships but the majority still focus on academia. Now I'm not saying that scanning as-builts needs to be glorified or that school blogging has gone too far. I found the school blogs very helpful as a student myself, but upon graduation there wasn't much more help out there aside from the typical "finding a job" advice. The problem is that there is a rather crucial and gritty part of the profession we’d rather gloss over or omit with a few dots than talk about what it really takes to go from graduation to license, and that’s what this blog is about. In terms of your beloved studio project, this blog isn't about the initial assignment, nor is it about the final presentation. It's about the late nights in studio, the horrendous desk crits, and the times you want to give it all up and become a business major.

    As an intern architect, I plan on blogging about the everyday aspects of interning to become an architect. I’m hoping you leave your thoughts, questions, and comments as well whether it’s as an intern, student, licensed practitioner, or whatever you may be. The point is to talk about it rather than …

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About this Blog

An ellipsis [...] is used to signal an omission, an unfinished thought, aposiopesis, or brief awkward silence. Architectural ellipses are those aspects of the profession we (perhaps intentionally) omit, gloss over, or let dwindle in silence. Generally applied this blog should encompass many aspects of the profession. Yet, as an intern architect (now architect) I'll focus primarily on the architectural ellipses that occur in the internship process (and beyond).

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