Getting an internship in the residential sector?


I'm going to be starting my first year in a 3-year M.Arch program soon, and I was wondering how people get internships at residential firms? I have been looking everywhere but it seems none of the residential companies take interns. Is this because they are much smaller than commercial firms and don't have room to take interns? I want to gain experience and intern every summer before I graduate but I can't seem to find many opportunities to intern. I have been looking mainly in Boston because that is where my school is but would I have more luck if I changed locations? Also, I have a particular preference for design-build firms but anything in residential will work!

Before anyone asks, I have interned at commercial companies and I didn't like them very much. I prefer more personal interactions with the clients than what commercial has. 

Jun 20, 21 3:29 pm

Most architects and designers working in residential (SFRs and small MFRs) are solo or couples and sometimes a small firm of 5 or less. They usually don't have interns. In addition, SFRs are exempt from requiring an architect in most states and MFRs up to some number of units and other "limitations to the scope of exemptions" are exempt from requiring an architect. I am not sure how well architecture school prepared you for designing houses, townhouses, and small MFRs. Especially with COVID, I think many small firms aren't going to add staff and may even be limited in how many (social distancing requirements and so forth).

Jun 20, 21 6:47 pm  · 

Speak for yourself RCZ...I've worked almost exclusively at small residential firms in every internship I had as a student, then full time for the three years it took to get my license to practice after school, in three different states across the US. Now I still work in a quite small (about 8 people total) firm that does almost exclusively high-end SFR.

OP: Design-build firms aren't as common in my experience for single-family firms, but plenty of them are always looking for interns. Keep in mind that many of the smaller residential firms (i.e. <10 staff total) are looking for someone who can design and know something about putting together CD sets. The internships I worked in school were long and difficult because even interns were expected to be able to help out on actual projects (which was both exciting and terrifying), although in my experience, it's still well understood what your capabilities and experience should be given that you're a student. Just continue reaching out. Small firms especially are notorious for not picking up their phones due to the workload.

Jun 21, 21 7:46 am  · 
1  · 

i got an internship at with solo practice residential architect one summer. i found it on an aia jobs board. it was fun, easy and paid decently, though it was only 3 days a week because he wasn't that busy. some days consisted mostly of watching his dog while he went off to meet clients.

Jun 21, 21 8:57 am  · 
1  · 

also the location was pretty far out in a small town about 90 minutes drive from the suburb where i lived, which was why he had trouble getting help.

Jun 21, 21 9:00 am  · 
1  · 

Block this user

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

  • ×Search in: