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Working in Japan's Starchitects as an internship

collour

Hi. Does anyone who worked in Japan's Starchitects such as SANAA, Junya Ishigami, or Sou Fujimoto?

 

I've already know that when someone is able to enter those offices, they work without any salaries for a few months. But I think it's okay if I can work with them although I will be as an intern.

 

By the way, the most wondering things I think are how difficult to enter those offices and do they accept B.Arch students for their work. Because, somehow I guess there are many people all around the world who want to go to those offices as an internship although they do not get any salaries. Is it right..? Also, the next thing is, do they only accept grad school students for their work? Furthermore, I can't speak Japanese at all.

 

I'm 5th grade B.Arch student and this year is the last. And I really want to work at SANAA or Junya Ishigami although they don't pay for me any salary. Anyway, is it difficult to work as an intern? I found that there are just their e-mail addresses on their web sites(SANAA, Junya Ishigami), so is it merely possible to apply for them by sending an e-mail with my portfolio..or resume?

 

I'm waiting your considerate comments and really appreciate you.

 
Feb 21, 16 7:09 am
collour

 I modify the sentence..

Anyway, is it difficult to work as an intern? -> is it difficult to enter them as an intern?

Feb 21, 16 7:12 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

You're a fool if you work for no pay/salary.

Feb 21, 16 9:14 am  · 
1  · 
collour

@Non Sequitur

Thank you for your comment, but.. I know those offices do not pay for their interns or employees for a few months. In this case, the experience working at those offices are not important? I agree with working without no salary is fool for a very longtime, not a few months.

 

Hmn.. by the way, do you think it is better to work at any offices pay for my work performance? than to work, learn something and get experiences at those Starchitect's offices without any pay? 

Feb 21, 16 9:38 am  · 
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collour

@Leandro Llorente

 

Thank you for your link. Reading the letter, this is the kind of thing that I should be thinking about. So, could I ask about one thing..? Did the man sent just e-maill to SANAA or with his portfolio and resume?

Feb 21, 16 10:33 am  · 
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Dangermouse

This article is talking about writing, but you could very easily apply it to architecture 

http://lithub.com/the-literary-class-system-is-impoverishing-literature/

Feb 21, 16 10:35 am  · 
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bowling_ball

In just a few months, you aren't going to learn anything useful, which is all the more reason to get a job that pays. This is aside from the issues that you're reinforcing the idea that these assholes can get away with this in the first place.

Feb 21, 16 11:11 am  · 
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collour

@Dangermouse

 

I appreciate you. I read after a while. Thank you

Feb 21, 16 12:39 pm  · 
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collour

@bowling_ball

 

Thank you for your careful comment. hmn.. Is it really not positively affect me? Because I have just one experience as an internship, I don't know other many offices. When I was in an office I worked in, fortunately,  I tried to design something and proposed some ideas to my boss. Furthermore, I usually spend most of my time using some tools such as rhino, photoshop, illustrator, renderning, making physical models.. and so on. So, if I enter any other offices as an intern, not junior architect, would I do something similar? I guess I may do more chores at first in any other offices as an intern. Thus, Is entering those offices such as SANAA similar to others offices in starting work as an intern? not the case of pay.

Feb 21, 16 12:52 pm  · 
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Kidd

I have a classmate that worked for both SANAA and Shigeru Ban last summer. He said working at SANAA was difficult because of the amount of work they were expected to do and he was often staying late into the night. He didn't receive any money working there (3-4 weeks). He then moved to Shigeru Ban and had a blast working on some projects. Shigeru Ban paid him. And the work environment is more of a studio culture instead of a cult culture that you might find at SANAA where they are worshiped for their work.

Feb 21, 16 2:01 pm  · 
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You should never take an unpaid internship, no matter who it is with. This practice needs to be abolished in architecture. It cheapens the profession. They can at least pay a stipend or room and board.
Feb 21, 16 6:36 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Think about it this way: if they're not paying you, what's their incentive to teach you anything? To give you meaningful duties to perform? Regardless of the title, as a new graduate you will be tasked with doing some unimportant work, and hopefully within a few months you get more responsibility. So go get a paying job, because you'll be doing the same menial work regardless of the setting. I'm not sure who's going to be paying for you to live during your free slave labor term, but you're not just losing out on the salary, you are also having to pay for your living expenses somehow. Presumably, this is about double the salary you should be receiving but are in fact losing.

Feb 21, 16 7:44 pm  · 
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As far as I knew, Kengo Kuma is the ONLY firm in Japan which pay intern. Even the small offices dont do this. 

May 13, 21 5:20 am  · 
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monosierra

That's what I heard as well - his is always one of the most Western style offices. Not by the nationality of his employees but by the way it is run, including intern pay.

May 13, 21 9:25 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

strange that paying someone for their time is an admirable trait for an office. It despicable that it is acceptable to "hire" unpaid interns.

May 13, 21 9:27 am  · 
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monosierra

That's the problem with starchitect internships - the currency of the non-existent compensation is supposed to be a better CV so that the intern will be able to circulate between other starchitect offices after the first one. Its a ticket into that coterie for those who think they have a shot at becoming the next Zaha or Sejima themselves. I admire REX for their position that this system is bad for the employers because the pool of talented applicants is vastly reduced to those who could afford unpaid internships. Instead of being able to hire the best student designers, firms would hire the richest ones instead.

May 13, 21 11:34 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

An unpaid internship is worth zero experience. I’d argue it’s negative experience.

May 13, 21 11:47 am  · 
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monosierra

Fujimoto basically gave the "We're not paying you to be taught by us" excuse when defending that culture. That flamboyant interior design what's-his-name - Rashid or something - went one step further by saying that interns should be paying him for the education they receive during their "internship".

May 13, 21 6:14 pm  · 
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evamcleigh

i can tell you junya ishigami's internship is basically free offer, easily got it, many of my friends use it as a backup plan. Others are harder, especially SANAA and Nikken Sekkei.

May 13, 21 4:47 pm  · 
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Seiji

I wonder if the attraction of unpaid internships has waned somewhat during the pandemic. At least foreigners can't enter the country at this point.

AFAIK, the unpaid internshippers generally went on to Kuma, the one with a business sense (but his office is humongous compared to SANAA), or left the country. Foreigners typically do foreign projects, or minor roles in the japanese projects. You can get that kind of starchitect experience in any country. The exciting thing about Japan is what's done domestically, because the system and the culture revolves around a somewhat different set of rules.

May 14, 21 4:50 am  · 
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randomised

Would’ve totally taken an internship/apprenticeship in Japan back in the day, if I could’ve afforded it...But unfortunately, being from a working class background, I didn’t have 10+k laying around to get access to such an invaluable experience :-(

May 14, 21 7:59 am  · 
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lower.case.yao

Them's the breaks, rich people get all the luck.

May 14, 21 12:09 pm  · 
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