Internship offer at BIG


2k/month no benefits in NYC. Is it worth it?

Jun 19, 14 1:13 pm

unless i'm mistaken, bjarke is a deceptacon.

Jun 19, 14 1:45 pm
Non Sequitur

there is a sucker born every minute...

Jun 19, 14 2:02 pm

Yes. You can make it work. 

Jun 19, 14 3:31 pm

Keep looking

Jun 19, 14 5:34 pm

That's about 8 an hour.  No you cant.  Not unless you have another income.

Jun 19, 14 5:44 pm

you know it ain't going to be a regular 8 hour / day shift, but more like 12 hours/day, all-nighter the night before deadlines, weekend work ... Good luck surviving on lack of sleep, over working, ramen noodles, plain rice and soy sauce etc etc xD

Jun 19, 14 5:50 pm


Jun 19, 14 6:16 pm

Lot of haters out there. Internships are designed for maximum exposure...not a means to an end. 

I would do it in a heart beat. Great exposure and what is wrong with hard work? I had an internship with a really highly regard firm during school. It's still paying dividends almost 10 years after. 

Obviously you need to weigh your other options...

Jun 19, 14 6:22 pm

The income can be a reason not to do it. $8/hour in NYC is nearly impossible. The internship could result in high amounts of stress that could take away your interest in architecture, or give you an unrealistic ideal of what architecture is about.

That said, the exposure is great, although I'm not sure what exactly the majority of their interns do (do they get to make decisions, or are they there for specialized labor?)

Jun 19, 14 7:59 pm

Cheap - I mean really cheap - labor for someone who can well afford to pay you a decent living wage?

Only take it if you have no self respect. Which is almost a requirement in this profession.

Jun 19, 14 8:35 pm

But miles he may meet Bjark.  That would be awesome.  He can maybe collect his fallen hairs and nail clippings and sell them for big bucks at the college.   

Jun 19, 14 9:13 pm

uhhh.....I make 15 an hour (as a summer student) and make that much a month before tax and working a 35 hr week.

I'm guessing it's more than $8/hr.  Unless you're basing that # on assuming you'll be working more than the 40hr week schedule.  Which is likely, but technically $8 with normal work schedule and applying actual math (b4 tax that is) comes to 1280 (8x40x4=1280) just sayin. 

Jun 19, 14 10:05 pm

but yea, i guess consider and assuming longer working hours would make it about 8.  Still doesn't take away from the fact that it's low.

Jun 19, 14 10:09 pm

are you kidding me?


no dude. like someone said, BIG has enough funds to pay interns at least minimum wage. 





shit, if you still want that job, id make my own demands and have my own schedule when i come and leave the office.

for example,

come in at 12 and leave at 4, three days a week so you can use the the other two days to work in a real job and get paid accordingly.

Jun 19, 14 10:43 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

this older architect told me he was offered a job out of school by Neutra and some other guy back around the early 70's for $10-$15 hour, he didn't take it, wasn't worth it....that would be 40 years ago and that was considered bad pay.

Ok so you work for BIG and put them on your resume and then what, you work for OMA at maybe slightly better pay? then you get a teaching job, which could be good money and benefits if the right school because you worked for BIG and OMA, but then what you take Rem Koolhaas client's or break off and form REX or something?

What's the big picture here?  You want to work on interesting stuff do competitions, if you are going to throw away hours of your life, do it for yourself and not someone else.

the people that get it done for these guys- like coordinate the drawings to the building part  - they tend to have less glamorous resumes that list names of architects you've never heard of,  they have less glamorous summer jobs like roofer or carpenter and attended some state or tech school - these people also get real salaries when working at these firms.

Jun 19, 14 11:04 pm

I don't know where Olaf was trying to go there, Regardless, I agree with one of his notions which is, what do you want to do?  Are you a BArch or an MArch? have you had other internships? 

Honestly, I have to ask, what the hell are you doing?  to have gotten to this point and are now asking this question, which you've posted on archinect of all places seems bizarre and unprofessional. 

Often the best places pay the least. The money will come if you stay aggressive and smart. If you think the world owes you something because you go to an Ivy League school or have a pretty portfolio, you will end up sad and miserable like miles Jaffe.

Jun 20, 14 12:15 am

^ miserable ones will bitch and complain and get no where.. Those who're determined will make the best out of this profession.  I've had a few inspiring classmates who took 8 years to complete their undergrad, masters, start interning and got licensed.

Jun 20, 14 12:21 am
I was making twice as much after taxes when I was working 25 hours a week as a food server. Just saying! There is no good reason to accept such a low pay even if the architect was the love child of rem and zaha. People it is time to have some dignity. We should all petition to NCARB for they to put together a fee regulation system in order to raise the value of our service as a profession. Salary regulation should definitively at the order of the day too. Seriously people! Even the poor immigrant without paper working on the construction site doing Sheetrock finishes through the union makes $40 an hour!
Jun 20, 14 3:13 am

I made an architectural model out of toenail clippings and starchitect hairs back in the day, the profs loved it! 

Jun 20, 14 8:35 am

the love child of rem and zaha

Sounds like the basis for a horror flick, but then again so does an internship at BIG. You could go undercover and use the experience to develop a tell-all or screenplay.

Jun 20, 14 10:01 am

Or ,quoting Scriblescrable, you can just stick w/ door #3 be 'sad and miserable like Miles Jaffe.'

The best and safest route of the few options laid out on the table...

Jun 20, 14 2:25 pm

Could someone please explain to me why working for a firm like BIG for next to nothing at all, is a great experience for a young designer? You will most likely be used for slave labor and rendering. Why would you not seek out a smaller or mid-sized company that you will have a much bigger role in and will be able to do actual design work and get a project built? I have worked for several mid-sized design/construction firms and these are the companies where you are able to grow and learn much faster than at a starchitect's office. The projects you will work on may not be on the cover of a magazine, but we are professionals not celebrities so who cares? I understand that obviously some firms have a much higher level of design quality than others but many mid-sized companies that fly under the radar have incredibly skilled professionals and are able to complete very high quality projects.

Jun 20, 14 2:51 pm


Jun 20, 14 7:02 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

If working for BIG or any other famous firm brings meaning to your life - holy shit are you in trouble.

Jun 20, 14 7:27 pm

Quan, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that you were PWI (posting while intoxicated). Please don't let it happen again.

Jun 20, 14 8:05 pm

It will be like the movie Devil wears Prada exept without the happy ending.  

Jun 20, 14 8:35 pm

ooch. touchy / sensitive..

Jun 20, 14 8:48 pm

Does your mommy know you play on her computer?

Jun 20, 14 11:35 pm

It is worth it if you can afford to make the investment, regardless of what anyone on this forum says, having BIG on your resume will open up doors after your internship.

Shitty as it may be, that Bjarke as well as all the big players do these things which make architecture unobtainable for those without trust funds, it does benefit you. As someone who wouldn't be able to accept the offer because I could not sustain a living in New York on that wage, I would still desperately find a way to try to some how make it happen, even if it was only for 3 months.

Jun 20, 14 11:47 pm

Ridiculous. You know who cares about whether you worked in some starchitect's office? Other entry-level interns. End of list. The real world doesn't care. If your next boss is over 50, s/he probably hasn't heard of BIG anyway.

You should also consider that while you're working that internship for $5 or $8 an hour, you're also NOT working a job that could pay double or triple that, albeit for a firm that may not be exploiting you (as much).

if everybody agreed to not take shitty internships, shitty internships would stop immediately and turn into real jobs.

Jun 21, 14 1:44 am

If you are really determined to work for peanuts go volunteer at an animal shelter or something...the dogs will appreciate your charity more than Bjark Ingles.  

Jun 21, 14 2:51 am

I think people are living in a fantasy if they think that people wouldn't care that you worked for Bjarke.

For one, if you wanted to work in Asia, working for a starchitect would put you at the top of the list, there is recognition in name, and that goes for the school you graduated from and the people you worked for. Many on this forum ignore this, they believe it is not favorable, and maybe that is true for most no-name firms, but for a lot of the relevant firms and for a lot of opportunities it does matter, and people on this forum saying it doesn't matter, are fooling themselves and lying to themselves so they feel important.

I am not saying I agree with it, I am saying that it is a fact, and you should play the game as you would gain a lot of opportunities working for BIG, it would be a highlight on your resume, it would open the doors for you to work in broader international firms. People are jealous, people think that you taking the job contributes to the continuation of poor pay (and it does) but ultimately someone will take it, if it is not you you will lose out and you will regret it for a very long time.

View this as an investment work there for at least 3 months and see the opportunities after, and $2,000 a month is actually decent for an internship there are tons more internships paying less, don't let others jealousy take away this opportunity.... if you can afford it.

Jun 21, 14 3:24 am

Medians, sorry to have to call a spade a spade, but you're clearly wrong about the importance of 'names' on a resume. First, you have to assume that a future firm's hiring personnel is even going to recognize a trendy name or school. Then, if they do recognize it, they have to like the name - which is far from a universal truth. Your boss may love Gehry, while maybe mine despises his work and sees a Gehry employee as contaminated. And trust me, nobody outside of academia or younger firms has even heard of BIG.  The truth is that architecture consists of a very very high percentage of service firms - where design may not be as exciting but focus is on the business aspects. There's nothing wrong with that, even if it's not for everybody.

please, stop buying into the hype. You're only making it harder for grads to make a liveable wage, and to the rest of us, your opinions come across as naive and foolish. After your first job, nobody gives a shit about your school or internships - they are much more interested in how you can make them money. This is a business, after all. That's why BIG doesn't want to pay a legal wage to interns -they want to make more money, not less.

If you start out your career like a bitch, expect to be treated like one.

Jun 21, 14 3:52 am

It doesn't matter who you worked for and whose ass you kissed, whether its Koolhaas or Zaha's fat ass, if you don't have impressive work of your own to show, no employee in his/her right mind will hire you only based on who you worked for.  Work and results matter in this profession.  As much as I despise this profession, that is one aspect I like about it.  You could be Obama at talking but in the end you will get fired over that introvert who doesn't say much but gets work done properly and on time.

Jun 21, 14 4:43 am

I would assume if the original poster applied to work for BIG that he has a desire to work for well known and well established firms. I am not arguing that a name substitutes work, I am arguing that a name gives added recognition to the work, and that he would have a much better shot getting into a well established, well known firm after BIG. Keep in mind the fact that he was offered a position at BIG shows that his school work is probably above the average, and that he probably wouldn't want to work for a firm that is soo out of the loop that the person running it has no understanding of the relevant architects currently in the industry.

Yes, if his desire is to work in Wichita Kansas for a firm doing walmarts then working for BIG gives him no added benefit, but I would think he has certain goals and desires in his future and working for BIG would align with those more so than an unknown service firm doing unknown projects.

Jun 21, 14 5:11 am

You'd have to be a sucker not to take it. All that prestige waiting for you! Why else would anybody pursue architecture? This is America baby.

Jun 21, 14 5:40 am

Why can't this profession focus on that big area of practice inbetween BIG and Walmart in Witchita? Can't we just create nice places that function well and that people like? I think that is what most of us got into architecture for, the middle ground. Celebrity chasing makes the profession less professional, it shows where you place importance, the self and the image. I think it's distasteful and immature.

Besides, Witchita, Kansas type places need you!

(just realized I misspelled Wichita, but decided to leave it.)

Jun 21, 14 8:31 am

If you can afford to live in NYC w/ 2k a month for 3 months and working for BIG. Why the f*ck not? I would.

Its 3 months out of your life and an experience most of us will never get, take that jump grasshopper. What happens afterward is still up to you.

Jun 21, 14 8:53 am

If you can afford it,  why not spend your parents money on a cocain fueled bender for a couple months?  That's also an opportunity not  many of us get, and I'm sure it  would be more fun than cutting the tips off your fingers at midnight while making models of other people's architecture

Jun 21, 14 10:38 am


Jun 21, 14 1:04 pm
There are top notch firms that do real work and actually pay, say NBBJ, of course their work isn't edgy, but it is real.
Jun 21, 14 2:32 pm

I hear you can make $15 an hour (minimum wage) in Seattle flipping burgers. 

Jun 23, 14 12:06 pm

As an Indonesian architecture student, I will definitely take that offer. Will they give you a chance to work as a full timer afterwards?

Just to let you know that in other side of the world (asia), working in BIG, OMA, UN in eu or us is almost impossible and has been our "dream" since we were in undergrad. Just saying..

Jun 23, 14 1:30 pm

the commute from asia to new york would be a bitch.  salary expectations may need to be adjusted with the cost-of-living adjustment that would come with living in new york.

Jun 23, 14 1:46 pm

My advice to the original poster is that they should ask their mom and dad and if the parents are willing to help support them for the duration of the internship then they should absolutely take advantage of the opportunity. I highly doubt Bjark Ingels concerned himself with his salary at OMA and look at where he is now! Yuck to the suggestion that someone had of working at a place like NBBJ just to make a few extra bucks. 

Jun 23, 14 5:46 pm

what's wrong with places like NBBJ (btw, I only heard of that firm last week)? what architecture practices are acceptable?

Jun 23, 14 10:51 pm

RemIsActuallyAnAutobot, did you ask your mom and dad? Just curious to know what you/they decided.


To Koww, NBBJ is just does very bland corporate work. It isn't anything that is going to rock the world and if RemIsActuallyAnAutobot wants to work at BIG I can't imagine he would be happy working on NBBJ level blandness. 

Jun 25, 14 5:19 pm
First of all, many people do not have the option of having mom and dad float them through life while they work for a "superstar" for very low wages.
Second, I would find out what type of work they will have you do. If it's just going to be rendering and competitions, it's not worth it. Many starchitects, (not sure about BIG specifically) use other firms to do all of their CD's so that they are not at risk. This creates a situation where the firm that gets recognition as the architect, is more of just a consultant and instead of solving problems they just create them and then have another firm clean them up and build the project. As a young professional starting out in the industry, I would worry much more about what you would learn in the position rather than how it looks on the resume. It is fairly easy to spot someone who has actual technical experience in an interview and that is what firms look for. I have met many young designers who think highly of themselves because they did renderings for a starchitect but have no sense of how a building goes together (the main point of our profession) .
Jun 26, 14 4:12 pm

Guys...I'm a girl

Jun 27, 14 12:40 pm

how does that make a difference?

Jun 27, 14 2:11 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: