Archinect - PRACTICE OPTIONS 2021-01-16T06:43:27-05:00 Unpaid internships are so hot right now Kevin MacNichol 2012-08-05T16:25:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Design practitioners have many options. The diversity of small businesses in design fields allows employees to find work that truly matches their creative and financial goals. But do unpaid interns have choices too?</p> <p> I recently read an article in Spare Change News on the prevalence of unpaid internships. Although it does not discuss internships vis-&agrave;-vis architects, the article goes into great detail on the legalities of unpaid work in the United States. View it here:</p> <p> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Underground Intern Economy</a></p> <p> I should say that the author of the article is also currently dating me (whasup!) and suggested that I write this post to re-frame her topic for the design community. Here is a summary of the article's salient points:</p> <ul><li> An unpaid internship at a for-profit company is illegal if the intern's work is an &ldquo;advantage&rdquo; to the company, displaces paid staff, or is not similar to academic training.</li> <li> Supply of entry-level workers is outgrowing demand, intensifying competition and driv...</li></ul> People these days – they think they're so 'special' Kevin MacNichol 2012-06-03T14:46:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Creative people do creative things, but that doesn't make them architects. Yet why is it that the portfolios of young designers are often crammed with sketches, photography, and sculptures? Should these activities be considered parts of the field of architecture?</p> <p> Of course not, but they are nevertheless crucial to the development of any designer. Such creative exercises are highlighted in job interviews and graduate school applications because they display a readiness for experimentation, craft, abstract thought, etc. which can be translated to solve challenging problems. Architects are best prepared to serve diverse clients by experiencing and learning as much as possible throughout life, and not simply &ldquo;specializing&rdquo; in construction technology and spacial design.</p> <p> Hold the phone. Specialization is actually what makes capitalism possible in the first place. People are happy when they have a little moolah, and we need to be productive to bring home the bacon. To increase pro...</p> Scope expansion Nicole Fichera 2012-05-01T16:51:01-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title="">Hi Archinect!</p> <p> I have a big announcement [scroll down if the excitement is too much for you to bear!], but first, some thoughts:</p> <p> I've been thinking about the theme and content of this blog, and I'm making a slight revision. It started as an exploration of alternative modes of practice, at a time when I was questioning some of the 'extra-curriculars' I'm constantly involved in and whether they meant I was still an 'architect' in the traditional sense.</p> <p> After getting into this mode of discourse a bit deeper, my exploration seems to be more about expanded practice than alternative practice.</p> <p> I wrote <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">an article for ArchitectureBoston</a> magazine this spring, a conversation with young architects about the future of the profession. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lian Chikako Chang [of Archinect blog fame!] </a>said something I thought was very clear and smart when we were talking about the ways that architects [and 'alternative architects'] group themselves:</p> <p> <em>"I see two sets of people in the field: those who group arc...</em></p> The psychological impact of labeling: 'architect' vs 'designer' Nicole Fichera 2012-01-11T11:38:00-05:00 >2018-11-29T13:46:03-05:00 <p> Lately I've been noticing a trend.</p> <p> When I introduce myself, I usually say something like "I'm a designer at Hacin + Associates."</p> <p> Then usually I have to explain where the office is, the kind of work we do. And very often, after a minute or two, people will respond with something like&nbsp; "So what do you do there? You said interior design?"</p> <p> At which point I have to say, "No, architecture. I'm an architect...well, almost an architect. I'm not licensed yet, but yeah, I work on architectural projects."</p> <p> I mentioned it on Twitter, and got this response:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> I can understand that. I responded thusly:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Then, I was reading <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">this Archinect discussion on what we're allowed to call ourselves </a>when we're unlicensed and found this lovely tidbit:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Followed by this excerpt from NCARB's policies:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Wow. So I guess it's pretty clear that the word 'architect' and all of its permutations, is totally off limits until you are officially and incontrovertibly licensed.</p> <p> So this begs the qu...</p> We interrupt our regular programming to bring you: stacked wood + next-use Nicole Fichera 2011-12-14T10:44:51-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> Good morning Archinecters:</p> <p> I know this is a professional blog, but I'm deviating a bit today to show one of my school projects. This was my senior studio project, a collaborative effort with Pamela Andrade. Our studio professor was Michael LeBlanc of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Utile</a>, and since Pam is also working at Utile while she finishes her M.Arch, we were asked to present our project as a lunch'n'learn today.</p> <p> I don't have a ton of time to explain this today, so I'm going to post some images and follow up with a more detailed explanation later. We had to prototype a new kind of integrated building system with a high degree of technical resolution. Then, we applied that system to a 'next-use' building: a building with no defined program, that was both specific and flexible enough to adapt to different programmatic uses over its lifetime [offices, efficiency housing, a library extension, classrooms, etc]. The site is on the Tufts University campus across from the library.</p> <p> Our structural system uses ...</p> Alternative architect profile: Nic Granleese ['Para-architect'] Nicole Fichera 2011-11-28T14:33:05-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <em>[all photos: Nic Granleese,<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>]</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Through the magical medium of Twitter, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting <strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Nic Granleese, an architectural photographer in Melbourne, Australia.</a></strong> He is a self-described 'registered, but non-practicing architect'--and after seeing that description, I knew I'd found the perfect candidate for my first profile of an architect doing something else.</p> <p> Nic is not simply an architect-turned-photographer. He takes beautiful pictures, sure, but he also "helps other architects 'tell their story'." Taking beautiful pictures is not enough: they need to get in front of the right people. In an increasingly online and interconnected world, that does not just mean print magazine editors anymore. Nic helps his clients combine photos with project data and information into a comprehensive media package, and then leverages his own network to get that focused bundle to the people that want to publish it. <strong>He makes content that can be spread, ...</strong></p> CALL FOR COMMENTS: Panel discussion on the future of the profession Nicole Fichera 2011-11-09T10:30:40-05:00 >2018-03-13T10:31:03-04:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Hello Archinecters!</p> <p> So in recent news, my boss, David Hacin, has been selected as the guest editor for the March issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine--and he's enlisted me as his right hand in putting the magazine together.</p> <p> It has been so much fun so far. I love writing and editing and refining ideas, so this is right up my alley. David, like me, is an optimist, and he wants to use this issue to look critically but optimistically at the future of Boston and of the profession.</p> <p> We are focusing on a theme of Change, but in a very specific sense: looking forward without looking back. It's a phrase that's been in my head a lot lately [and the title of my first post on this blog]</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em><strong>CHANGE: LOOKING FORWARD WITHOUT LOOKING BACK</strong></em></p> <p> Here's what I originally pitched as the concept:</p> <p> <em>Discussions of change and newness in Boston are often characterized by self-conscious references to the past: terms like &lsquo;Boston Brahmin&rsquo; bring to mind a stodgy, brick-loving city of conservative nay...</em></p> Charging for joy vs charging for necessity Nicole Fichera 2011-10-28T19:04:10-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> I don't have time for a long post, so I'll have to come back and write more on this later. But I can't get this article out of my head.</p> <p> Architects, doctors and lawyers have all traditionally needed licenses to practice professionally. But young architects [including this one] are questioning the necessity and value of a license in their own lives. For me, the idea of going back to school and then sitting through exams sounds like an awful lot of time and money, and I'm questioning the direct benefit. Not all architecture requires a license. My skill set is applicable to many other things besides architecture. I mean, that's what this blog is all about. I've been thinking for quite some time that It might not be worth it for me to get licensed, that I can practice in other ways successfully.</p> <p> But this article stopped me in my tracks: <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>/</p> <p> Disclaimer: it's about lawyers, not architect...</p> Keeping the decision makers close brings your vision closer. Nicole Fichera 2011-10-24T11:03:33-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> My fellow Archinect blogger Gregory Walker posted a link to a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Harvard Business Review interview with Frank Gehry</a> [P.S. For folks from Twitter and elsewhere: if you haven't seen <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gregory's blog</a>, I advise checking it out. His posts about the profession are both insightful and grounded].</p> <p> Mr. Gehry is one of those architects that my studio instructors loved to hate--the poster child for excess, indulgence, starchitectural disregard for basic concepts like constructability.</p> <p> But here's the thing: according to the HBR article, Gehry makes his money. And unlike many, many architects, Gehry realizes his visions--as crazy as they may be.</p> <p> To me, as a young architect starting out, that sounds pretty great. No compromising on the things that are important: make the vision happen, and make your money doing it. In Gehry's case, that 'no compromise' mentality starts long before the first concepts are sketched or the first invoices mailed out.</p> <p> In the interview, he says: "The client has g...</p> How Google Images sees architects Nicole Fichera 2011-10-17T13:05:40-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title="">I'm trying to look at what an architect is and isn't. So I typed 'architect' into Google images to get its take. Drawing boards, compasses, hard hats, crazy buildings, floating stairs.</p> Dots end up connecting Nicole Fichera 2011-10-07T10:10:21-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title="">I was surprised at how much I thought about Steve Jobs yesterday.</p> <p> In his 2005 Stanford Commencement address[<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here in the Archinect Blog Blog</a>], Jobs talks about connecting the dots.</p> <p> I have a lot of very successful friends in other fields, and one thing that strikes me about many of them is their laser focus. They've got it figured out: I will go to this degree program, after which I will work for this company, be promoted to this position, get to this higher position by 30. They say things like 'Success is having a well-organized plan,' and I think of my own scattered ambitions and wonder 'Am I doing this right?'</p> <p> Which brings me back to dots. Steve Jobs' point was that you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. If you are curious, if you follow your intuition and your gut down different pathways, if you look at possibilities with learning as your goal, you are collecting dots. A dot in music, a dot in economics, a dot in storytellin...</p> Looking forward without looking back Nicole Fichera 2011-10-04T17:13:38-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p> Quick intro: I'm a former student blogger with a terrible track record of intermittent, hesitant posts. I started this blog without acknowledging my own fear of writing for an audience of architects. I was afraid of getting snarked at, so I did the worst thing--and said nothing.</p> <p> I'm now a full-time designer, and I'm on a personal mission to lose that fear of writing, of talking in public, of being snarked at. So I'm restarting this blog. Here we go.</p> <p> At this point, I'm sure you're dying to know what prompted this [I know, It's so fascinating!--yet another young person making a personal manifesto to say more! be more! achieve! exist online! be a blogger!].</p> <p> Well, I'm not going to tell you. Instead I'm going to tell you what I'd like to blog about.</p> <p> I'm interested in alternative modes of practicing architecture, or ways that you can apply an architectural education to other career paths. I'd love to hear your feedback--I know lots of architects and former architects and intern ...</p>