University of Southern California (Daniel)

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    Capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden

    By Daniel
    Mar 16, '06 3:22 AM EST

    I still haven't uploaded our project process photos for our Eladio Dieste light study, but to keep this entry from being too dreary and gifless, here are the (weirdly tiny?) Google image results:

    I'm not sure what to think about our finished project. The foam sheets we planned to use on the walls couldn't stretch properly once we painted one side black to make it light-tight, so the walls are a bit folded and buckled in places. The roof, which was my biggest contribution, looks all right for the most part, even though we had to guess the precise nature of the altar skylight because of the inadequacy of the available research material. Oh well.

    I'm worried about review: all the other groups' models are doubtlessly beautiful. Some of the detail people achieved is remarkable. One group even installed mahogany floors at 3/16 scale. I'm still bitterly envious of the Thorncrown team, with all their repetitive tasks repetitive tasks repetitive tasks repetitive tasks repetitive tasks and minutiae gluing.

    Actually most of my anxiety is reserved for Finding A Summer Job. What can people with my lack of experience do? I have this big embarrassingly white blank next to "skills" on my résumé. Um, textbooky French? IPA transcription? An unnaturally good grasp of the English peerage? What exactly do they want? CAD is taught second year. I guess I can make coffee and Xeroxes. Pretty hard to screw that up, though I'm sure I'll give it my best effort.

    Anyway, since questions earn comments and I haven't been getting any in, like, forever, what were your first jobs in architecture and how did you get them? I don't think I'm old enough to be a proper intern. Actually I know nothing about the whole interning process, so any general workplace enlightenment is welcome.


    • i started in a job organizing a firm's dead files. then had a summer job as another firm's runner and print room guy. they also let me draw occasionally. worked house construction for a summer.

      eventually someone gives you a table and/or a computer. but maybe not immediately. things you can do without cad in an office include running; printing; reviewing shop drawings; maintaining logs of shop drawings, requests for proposals, and change order requests; typing letters and specs; model-building; presentation drawings (in offices where these are still hand-generated). the important thing for you is just being in an office and absorbing what goes on.

      Mar 16, 06 7:22 am

      one of my first tasks involved being sent to the basement (see: dungeon) of a large 60 year old firm to organize and archive drawings sets. Between sneezes, I enjoyed it.

      As far as the 3/16 scaled mahogony, let em. We had a guy model out the grills on an oven one year, tell me how this helps anyone's understanding of a building. I referred to those as doll houses, they can go work for mattel.

      Mar 16, 06 11:58 am

      My first two jobs (summers while in arch school) both started out with me reorganizing the firm book library and interiors sample library. That took about 2 or 3 weeks in each case, then after that I was promoted to menial office tasks along with a bit of microstation tutorial on the side. As all 2D drafting programs are ridiculously easy for a GenXer to figure out, pretty soon they were throwing me simple redlines, and it went from there.

      Don't worry, there is always--especially in LA!--a need for cheap student work. In my firm we'll probably be having a student scan slides and start bulking up our digital image library this summer.

      Mar 16, 06 4:32 pm

      First job was for a tract housing firm in the OC, drafting my ass off every day and occasionally doing some photoshop work and materials boards and such. The pay was decent for a first job at the time, and it got me way ahead of the rest of my class in terms of experience. This was after second year though, and sometimes I regret not doing some funner stuff that summer.

      Seriously, on your resume list your model building skills and such like that, put down every program you know (yes, even Microsoft Word), and see if anyone will take the bait. There are several larger firms in LA that basically keep model shops full of interns every summer, so you've got a shot there (though you would have had more of one if the lighting precedent had turned out well - crop the pics tightly so they can't see the problem areas). And definitely go to the firm fair next friday - even if none of them give you a jobe this summer, some of them will actually remember you next year.

      Mar 16, 06 10:02 pm

      Thanks for all the input! I did however rather stupidly forget to mention that I'll be looking for work in Southern Oregon. If you don't know anything about that region, there's a reason.

      Mar 17, 06 4:07 am

      could be your summer to tote a hammer. if you're in with a good contractor, you won't regret it.

      Mar 17, 06 7:31 am

      yeah, or on the management side of it. I spent my whole senior year proofing plans for a contractor, looking for RFIs (and unofficial ones too, wasn't just about money), and the arch firms I talked to LOVED the practical experience I brought.

      Mar 17, 06 2:25 pm

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