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OMA vs. Snøhetta Internship?

evamcleigh

Hello all, 

I've recently been offered an internship position at both OMA and Snohetta, but wondering what is your experience with these two firms? In terms of types of work involved, and how much growth you'll get out of each. (not about working hours, just the quality of work)

Thanks!!!

 
Apr 15, 22 12:45 pm
Non Sequitur

what’s the salary?



Apr 15, 22 12:50 pm  · 
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evamcleigh

Also, I do not concern about the salary, it doesn't matter much to me, just the work quality and experience there that matters :) Thanks!

Apr 15, 22 1:01 pm  · 
 ·  4
b3tadine[sutures]

bullshit. if you don't care about your financial worth, then you have zero value to either organization. you, are, worthless.

Apr 15, 22 1:45 pm  · 
 ·  1
Non Sequitur

Ditto to b3ta. Your experience is worth nothing if you’re not paid for your efforts.

Apr 15, 22 3:23 pm  · 
1  ·  1
yomthorke

That's an absolutely terrible view as you enter the field, which opens you up to a lifetime of exploitation. You need to value your labor and the time you spend generating capital for the company. Do not accept underpaid/unpaid internships no matter how well known the firm is.

Apr 15, 22 5:30 pm  · 
3  · 
flatroof

They go to GSD and money is not an object for them. They will be moderating How to be in an Office II in a few years.

Apr 15, 22 5:47 pm  · 
7  · 

its a European internship, no? Usually there is a stipend and it is standard. it is maybe more not an issue the same as health insurance is not an issue in canada. ie, it isnt great but its not as broken as the USA.

Apr 16, 22 5:13 pm  · 
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archinet

The less you get paid the less you learn and the less responsibility will be given to you. Its that simple.

Apr 20, 22 4:53 am  · 
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smurf111

@archinet - if they are nice... most are nt

Apr 20, 22 8:36 pm  · 
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archinet

then try to look for the nice one, believe me they exist

Apr 21, 22 8:00 am  · 
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evamcleigh

I don't think you understand what I meant, I said salary doesn't matter because I came from money, so, it really is not something I care about. We have walked different paths and we will be walking different paths in the future.

May 6, 22 11:29 pm  · 
 ·  3
archinet

Well the salary definitely matters to the person paying you, if they are paying you more then they will give you more responsibility and you will learn more. But I guess if you want to have a pretend job with pretend responsibilities and earn nothing go to the office whose work you like most. Or to the hell with it all and start your own office making up your own projects and publish them-- seeing that you are sooooo mega rich.

May 9, 22 5:25 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Well, evamcleigh, you are literal proof that a lot of money can't buy one intelligence.

May 16, 22 2:40 pm  · 
1  · 
kjpn

i think your question comes down to, what is the company culture -- are interns treated like 'grunts' or are they included in the design process and given substantial elements of the project to help develop.

I don't know for sure, but the general reputation I have gathered over the years is that OMA is a sweat shop and can be quite intense, whereas Snohetta is more up on the 'team spirit' and valuing the creative, collaborative culture. 

If you can speak to any former interns from the specific office locations you got offers on, whether on this forum or offline, that would help clarify things.

I personally feel that OMA is past its heyday and no longer the trendsetter it used to be. Snohetta would be my choice.


Apr 15, 22 1:09 pm  · 
1  · 
Cas Esb

I think this gives a good idea of work you could be doing at OMa

Apr 20, 22 2:47 am  · 
1  · 
Cas Esb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg_dgX6vBIc&t=3870s forgot link sorry

Apr 20, 22 2:48 am  · 
1  · 
Black_Orchid

OMA is over. Snohetta it is. Ask Craig his opinion about guns and the looting happening last though.

Apr 15, 22 2:22 pm  · 
1  · 

OMA is pretty far from over.

Of the people I know who worked for OMA none of them have said it was a bad experience. From what I have heard they are much more professional than they used to be and may be more like Snohetta than you might suspect. Both firms are doing impressive work and you are likely to be exposed to some cool projects.

How much your role as an intern intersects with that coolness is the bit you are trying to find out I suppose. Since no one who actually knows is speaking up, you might be able to glean some insight about Snohetta at least by reading the recent How to Get a Job at Snohetta article. They seem pretty chill and forward thinking, at least when they are talking in public...

The OMA article is older, but also offers insight.

Apr 16, 22 5:26 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Not sure what interesting projects OMA is doing these days, haven't heard much after the pandemic started.

Apr 17, 22 11:39 pm  · 
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guess it depends on your interests. Guggenheim exhibition on the countryside was interesting, Taipei project is opening soon, kadewe is cool, POST Houston, 11th street bridge park, and Audrey Irmas pavillion all cool beans, etc etc. OMA may not be working on the urban/human Gehlian integration the way BIG is, and are pretty far from the humble-score stuff that is more and more popular today, but they are working on some serious things in spite of their conversion to a more corporate office.

Apr 19, 22 11:09 am  · 
2  · 
zonker

I worked with Snohetta(San Francisco Office) on a project, I would go with them, Craig Dykers is real nice, a regular guy, not a high intensity REM type. Same with the others I met there. 


Apr 16, 22 7:21 pm  · 
1  · 
The_Crow

Snohetta for sure. 

Apr 17, 22 7:18 am  · 
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Meatball2000

One more vote on Snohetta.

Only go if they offer you a reasonable stipend that will well cover your rent & food& commute. If you are in the US, it has to be a paid position.

I don't care whether you care about money or not, the profession needs to end the tradition of unpaid internship (illegal) 

Apr 18, 22 5:29 pm  · 
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ucguney

I interned at the NY office of Snøhetta and was a nice experience, would definitely recommend, as far as intern compenstaions go, I would also say they were paying a relatively okay amount.


But I think having OMA on your CV might open more doors depending on what you want to do with it, my impression is that even though they are bought exciting places of different sorts, OMA is regarded as more competitive to get an opportunity at. 

Apr 19, 22 10:44 am  · 
1  · 
Cas Esb

so much insane hate and negativity in this thread... negative attitudes are killing this forum.

congrats on getting two offers from two interesting firms!

I think what is most important is what location your offers are for. OMA Rotterdam and OMA NYC are very different. 

Personally I would pick Snohetta but im a bit older so I couldn't survive the hours needed to be successful at OMA. I heard a lot of good internship stories for both firms. I think you can learn a lot more at OMA in 6 months though but you have to be willing to sacrifice more of your time. 

I hope that helps you in making your choice a bit.

Apr 20, 22 2:46 am  · 
1  · 
sameolddoctor

"I couldn't survive the hours needed to be successful at OMA" This kind of bullshit attitude that these kinds of firms exude is why there is negativity in this thread. Most of what you will learn at a place like OMA will not be used in 99% of "real" architecture

Apr 20, 22 11:06 am  · 
2  · 
monosierra

It's an interesting insight into the forum's demographics. On the one hand, you have students/young graduates venturing into well known practices - some of which are also notorious work cultures and business practices - and who might well be designing museums and marquee buildings for their careers. On the other hand, you have folks who are working in a totally different sector of the AEC business, having amassed rich experiences working on other building types and markets. I think we should be wary of assigning the tag of "real" architecture to be exclusive to any one type or market. Is an OMA building less worthy of "real" architecture compared to a well-detailed multifamily project? It is a question worth pondering IMO.

This brings to me an editorial I read once about 2 public buildings in Seattle, both constructed at around the same time. One was the City Hall and the other, OMA's Public Library. Both were fine buildings though the latter was as flamboyant as the former was restrained. One pushed the boundaries of technical possibilities (Thanks to the engineers and specialists but also to the original impetus from OMA) while the other was an exercise in tasteful material assemblage and spatial planning. No doubt the OMA project has inspired many more aspiring architects than the City Hall - which, for all its accomplishments, did not seek to break new ground. It was a contrast of what some might consider "real" architectures.

Apr 20, 22 12:28 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Most people who "graduate" or burn out of these firms will end up designing "regular" projects. There is not much room for the marquee stuff, and not enough clients to pay for them. This is the reality of the business that is concealed from fresh grads, and they take these dumb internships that burn them out and leave them in even more debt. Is there a middle ground? Absolutely.

Apr 20, 22 6:26 pm  · 
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monosierra

It's common in cultural industries unfortunately - where the stars command top dollar and many young people venture into the fray for a shot at stardom. Architecture is not quite as hazardous as Hollywood or professional sports but it does operate at least in part within the cultural sphere.

Still, I do recall one MAD ad explicitly stating that they will only consider candidates who have worked on renowned institutional and performing arts projects - which pretty much limits their candidate pool to those who have spent years grinding away at other starchitect acronym firms! It's a problem that arises when they hire mostly from each other. I guess it's easier for one to go from, say, OMA to Gensler than the other way round. 

Apr 20, 22 7:59 pm  · 
 · 

totally. A friend was moving from OMA to SOM not that long ago to work on facade assemblies because OMA experience was high-end and that was something they could take with them. It stuck in my memory because I had the mental image where the recruitment was in the other direction. But of course it makes sense. OMA is professional and c ompetent at a very high level. It is ridiculous to presume anything else.

Apr 20, 22 10:18 pm  · 
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monosierra

I agree. OMA usually works with facade specialists when it comes to unique facades - it makes sense that someone on their team who has worked extensively with fabricators and consultants would have an unique expertise/experience when it comes to facades, and thus be attractive to the likes of SOM as an intermediate to high level hire. SOM, on the other hand, is expansive enough to actually have specialists on the staff.

You probably wouldn't be doing CDs as much in OMA but one does get to work on some really innovative designs. So that's the upside - cool projects, unique experiences at the forefront of what is technically possible. Downside is poor pay and long hours. But if you leave with those experiences under the belt, it could be a worthwhile 5 years.

Apr 21, 22 1:53 pm  · 
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smurf111

Those with this type of mindset are the reason why the architecture profession is dying....

Apr 20, 22 8:29 pm  · 
 ·  1
evamcleigh

what kind of mindset, what are you talking about?

May 6, 22 11:24 pm  · 
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zonker

I started out  at 'Skidmore and did a lot facades, and stuff with high rises, we did our own CDs of the assembly details - long hours(not as long as OMA) learned a lot

May 11, 22 12:05 pm  · 
1  · 
evamcleigh

Thanks, SOM does have good stuff

May 13, 22 4:54 pm  · 
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Dangermouse

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May 18, 22 8:12 pm  · 
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