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@ rationalist:

We are seeing a lot of the same thing here in Chicago. Former intern of ours is not happy that he now has mandatory unpaid overtime. Last  year they had a 10% pay cut and not enough work for 40 hours/ week. 

Mar 19, 12 12:01 pm

amazing how the economy creates so much tension...even people with jobs are stressed.

i  would actually love to have a few people who are ambitious and driven  in the office even if they are planning to leave in a few years. would be a real drag to be paying people who are unhappy to be there though.  it's a hard enough job without the added difficulty of unhappy staff.  guess its not always obvious.

now i think on it, more of my friends have set up their own business during recession than in the good times. i am very glad to hear glimmers of a change in the air though.  fingers crossed this is a real trend.

Mar 19, 12 8:53 pm

hello, all.  have you seen this, donna?

Former Intern at ‘Charlie Rose’ Sues, Alleging Wage Law Violations

Mar 19, 12 10:00 pm

apparently I don't know how to quit a job properly, as I'm still in the office I just handed in notice at, and was here yesterday as well...

Mar 19, 12 11:21 pm

Thanks elinor!

I drafted for 13 hours straight today.  I hope I'm paying myself!

Mar 19, 12 11:37 pm

hi all.

In honor of LB I will use proper punctuation.  It feels so... formal!

I have been out of the official architecture workforce for almost 3 years now.  I feel like it's about time to get back in... and oh what a scary feeling it is.  If I can even find a job (unlikely) I'll be looking at a huge drop in pay - likely less than 2/3 what I make now.  Plus, now that I'm out of it, the thought of going back to the old grind of sole-proprietors with no desire to share their firm, constant crazy hours, project timelines that are screwed from day one so that you spend literally the entire duration of the project behind schedule, getting ribbed by the jobsite electrician for not being able to afford a car with your college degree... ugh.  

I'm also not looking forward to explaining that no, I don't know Revit, and yes, I was laid off, and yes, I chose to flee the profession for a warm bosom of financial stability rather than allow my resume to mingle with the 300 unsolicited resumes sent to firms in my town every week for the past 3 years.  Hopefully I won't be looked upon as the theoretical employee who "didn't have the passion to stay in" or the "oh, well you know there's always a reason they get laid off..." employee.  Neither are the case.

If only I didn't love designing.  (sigh) 

Mar 20, 12 1:37 am

am sure you will find something manta, as long as economy comes back.  that whole passion thing is not so important in the real world as far as i can tell.


unrelated to jobs but the venice biennale entry from canada was finalised recently and it is kinda cool.  the idea of the project comes from the principals of 5468796 architecture (good friends featured a while back on this site) and another good friend, jae sung chon.  really great concept.

Mar 20, 12 3:08 am

manta - do you own your place?  having enough money to experiment with your own house  could placate that desire to design... at least for a little while...

Mar 20, 12 9:33 am

Will, some interesting projects...

Good morning all back at work after having a crazy GI bug this weekend. it was like being back in India :o

Mar 20, 12 9:41 am

manta I'm guessing that project we talked about didn't pan out?  I'm sad to hear that.

Mar 20, 12 12:39 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Will, your friends may be super cool, and that enormous model city looks pretty sweet, but the name of their firm bugs me like crazy.  I mean how do they answer the phone?  How does a client refer to them?  Is that just their phone number?  I would get annoyed having to say all those numbers all the time.

Maybe I just need to know the reason.  Or maybe I'm just being mean today.  I had a meeting with a photographer, and he's a mousey man, and I just can't take him seriously.  I think he's an idiot, although he's really given me no real reason to think so.

Manta, I know exactly what you're saying, and that's most of why I don't think I'll ever get back into the career side of architecture.  With only 2 years of post-graduation experience, there's absolutely no reason a firm would hire me over a recent grad.  I've got no revitt skills, no computer rendering skills, and none of that project management experience.  Oh well.  I think I'll enjoy teaching the subject more anyway.

Mar 20, 12 4:32 pm

Yeah, Sarah, I'm with you on the firm name 5468796.  It's just confusing.  Their work is fantastic, though!

I also don't know Revit.  I hope I don't ever have to but by saying that I think I've just jinxed myself.

Mar 20, 12 5:43 pm

Wouldn't worry donna.  Architecture is not about software. When it comes to hiring, for us at least, its about personality more than anything, followed by experience.  Maybe for big firms it matters more but even then i somehow doubt anyone would think of wasting all your experience by asking you to work with revit all day...


About the name of 5468796, i kinda agree.  It's the number of their company registration, nothing more.  They didn't want any names to define the company since they believe in the team identity not the individual identity.  It is a mouthful, but remember when MVRDV hit the stage?  Everyone was saying the same thing, and now it's a non-issue.  Perhaps they will go the same way.  Amazingly enough they were just invited to give presentation in mexico city at the 13th arquine congreso, between zaha hadid and steven holl.  This is second time they shared stage with steven holl in 2 years.  They must be doing something right ;-) 

Anyway, i do like the biennale concept, making it about immigration instead of about themselves.  Very non-narcissistic and perfect pitch for our times.

Mar 20, 12 7:44 pm

5468796 is a bit long to say

Team Hard Work fits

Mar 21, 12 8:54 pm

I just bumped all grad school applicant threads if anybody is interested to study the changing face of architecture education if any..

Mar 21, 12 10:52 pm

They should have added the numbers together and got 9. 9/Nine Architects is pretty good. It beats Poor Boys Architecture from the 1990's/early 2000's which of course folded. Everyone know's poor boys/girls can't have successful architecture practices - they proved their own point.

Mar 21, 12 11:08 pm

Actually, it was the Poor Boys Enterprise -

Mar 21, 12 11:11 pm

Orhan, your little exercise proved declining interest in architectural education or declining interest in Archinect. Or both.

Mar 21, 12 11:27 pm

Rusty, there is definitely declining interest in architecture ed and competition among the schools for new students is very fierce.

As far as Archinect, it is omni present in the archi universe and in Apple apps. (unfortunately I don't have an I-Phone) I even see it in school studio reading and research/reference lists now. I am told the site is doing great and even better since v.3., which means and translates as it is visited by people other than architects as well.


Mar 22, 12 12:39 am

best line ever..."it is a bauhaus thing... capitalization is a form of ornament..."


Mar 22, 12 12:48 am

5468796 makes my dyslexia act up.

congrats rationalist.... pending love beats career if you ask me - the former is always harder to find.

manta I feel the need to say welcome back to the profession, but I believe that can't really leave can you - does your brain stop designing? Probably never.

Donna my apologies for a lack of capitalization... 


Mar 22, 12 12:55 am

i'm glad i'm not the only one bumfuzzled by 5468796. it makes a good narrative, which has probably helped them gain some traction. i honestly haven't figured out what else has gotten them so much attention: it's good solid work, but....

Mar 22, 12 7:30 am

good morning all

Hi David! Orhan love that new feature.

Mar 22, 12 8:41 am

Rusty, there is definitely declining interest in architecture ed and competition among the schools for new students is very fierce.


Same issue that Law schools are facing - it's now either legacy/rich kids or people who are 100% committed to the profession.  Either people are finding work and not needing to postpone entry into the career by going to grad school, or, more likely, people are realizing that cost of these programs are completely out of whack with real salaries.  why spend 100-200k on an education when your starting salary is less than someone who cleans up garbage on the side of a highway?


the schools that will win are the big names and the schools with large endowments who can offer $$ for the best students.


also - after the tax revolt in the late 70s, California's public education system has gone completely down the tubes.

Mar 22, 12 10:14 am

competition for students is tough here too.  declining population is part of it, but also some ennui i think.  ironic timing. wish we had more money to throw at really good students.

@steven re 546...i agree they do not fill the scene with the spectacle we are used to lately (and which everyone complains about).  but for an office only a handful of years old they have done well. im looking forward to seeing what they do when they really find their feet. 

school year starts again in a few weeks.  i'm still exhausted from the last one and not remotely caught up.  on bright note will be teaching studio with sejima this term, which am quite looking forward to.

Mar 22, 12 11:12 am

thanks nam.

will, that is a very bright note. sanaa is the darling of students world over these days.. stand on your ground. (sorry for sounding like an horoscopist.;.)

some schools are becoming more and more outrageous with their offerings to draw attention to their programs. some resorting outright star shows not knowing many are not as sharp as they used to be. ie; sci arc have been hosting eisenman, kipnis (a lecture named "who is moss?" the director of the school) thom mayne, peter cook. if you want to see how agressive a school is for new students, look at their february-march lecture/event rosters.

Mar 22, 12 12:07 pm

I don't know if the star shows really work anymore - top students are usually swayed by how much aid  and other perks they'll get because they know they'll do well at any program.


@will - can you ask sejima how the hell this floor plan is supposed to work?


all corridor on the outside and these weird connecting interstitial spaces where nothing seems to be going on.

Mar 22, 12 1:50 pm

oh - and what building code allows something like this?  I'd like to see an egress path drawing for this.  Can you put toilet rooms in staircases like this in europe?  They have no disabled people?  Egress doors don't need to go in the direction of travel?  Square rooms with just couple pieces of furniture?? Can someone please explain to me how this plan is even possible????  It's been bothering me ever since I saw it a few years ago.

Mar 22, 12 5:16 pm

cheers orhan.  should be fun.  last year's studio (which i still haven't blogged about properly) was pretty good with fumihiko maki.  sejima is quite nice person from the times i have met her so will be interesting to see how she teaches.

our school is kind of different than most.  we still don't have a website and nobody knows about us, but the students are doing amazing stuff - do wish we had more students from overseas though.  since we require students (and staff) to build real stuff it's become kind of like the rural studio but with starchitects on the staff.  when shigeru ban was here students were really into disaster response and that tradition still hangs on, but now they are also building schools in africa and malaysia, etc, which makes it even more cool, i'd say.  as a private school it is more expensive than most in japan but still cheap compared to usa...


@ toasteroven, it looks pretty clear to me as far as function goes. it's an amazing building.  i'm not sure about the toilet in the stairs as a personal thing but in general european standards are high or higher than usa on most every level.  sejima just pushes, but no laws are being broken (obviously). might help to understand if you know the rooms with the gridlines are exterior spaces.

the small boxes are offices facing onto courtyards which connect to large meeting rooms, etc...quite smart really.  i find her work to be unrelenting but the things that are possible as a result are really unexpected and smart. 


Mar 22, 12 6:39 pm

Oh man.  The SANAA plan is lovely, the images of the project even more so.  I absolutely love things that are super-organized, even rigid.

But toaster your rant re: function at code is adorable.  I feel the same way frequently.

About to start my evening of drafting that will run till 2am probably - same as pretty much every night for the last two weeks.  I'm beat.

Mar 22, 12 9:24 pm

ok - that makes more sense - I hadn't seen finished interior pics... just the plan and a bunch of exterior images and how the heating system worked (maybe the furniture in the plan drawing was not to scale?).  Sejima like those inserted exterior spaces - that weekend house she did a while back is one of my favorite buildings of all time.


Donna - If I submitted a plan like that to some building department stateside I'd have to brace myself for the inevitable "wtf?" phone call.  I'm also a fan of relentless grids - very classical.  maybe if Sejima went polar she'd end up with a modern version of the Tempietto san Pietro?


I wonder how much she was influenced by Hejduk... it's his nine-square.

Mar 22, 12 11:03 pm

4am and just finished the drawings for my code submission tomorrow (today) for the Chopstick project by Vision Division.  It's going to make the code officials say wtf? for sure!

Mar 23, 12 4:04 am

i expect indy has its own code enforcement so you don't have to submit to indiana's version of code enforcement, the department of homeland security - which always cracks me up.

i would have submitted the bare minimum, like house builders do here: plan and one wall section, baby. then you *really* would have gotten a 'wtf?'!  

congratulations on reaching this landmark! let's have some bourbon to celebrate!

Mar 23, 12 7:12 am

cool donna!  that's such a great project.

tonight we're up late finishing up drawings for contract with builder to be signed tomorrow.  construction to begin like next week!  such a nice feeling to finally get past a deadline finally (hopefully saying it won't jinx us).

Mar 23, 12 11:06 am

Steven, that is such a logical assumption about Indy that of course it is wrong.  We never do things smartly here.  I potentially was going to have to go through Department of Homeland Security, but I land in the area of the Lucky Exemption: less than 500 SF, 1 story.  Still have to pull a stormwater review, though, for a building with a footprint of 73sf  within a 100 acre park - so the structure is .0017th of 1/100th the area of the property.  Sigh.

Mar 23, 12 3:00 pm

oh - I see, you'd have to brace yourself for the rectal exam.


WTF - Homeland security?

Mar 23, 12 4:08 pm

toaster, here's a view of the [ambulatory?] space that level of the zollverein. it's actually a stunning project.

as for bathrooms in the stair cores (treppenhaus, i think) - i've seen that, too. the door swings do seem... odd. it might be more of an idealized plan, maybe?

Mar 23, 12 6:46 pm

donna....I like wtf.....I have been working for some major art players this last month....and I love working on there projects as it feels like they have alot more respect for me than my new major money project be some one not to be mentioned....but it pays the bill.

Mar 23, 12 11:04 pm

homeland security?! wtf is insufficient. 

Mar 24, 12 8:08 am

Drinkin' beer outside with ms sink. Beautiful evening. Life is good.

Mar 24, 12 6:11 pm

SOMEONE JUST STOLE MY REAR WHEEL, in front of my apartment, in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY!  With tons of well-heeled passersby on my street!  And presumably no one DID anything to stop them!!!  They even took the CASSETTE!!!  ARGHHHHHH

Man, I've never had something I care about be stolen before.  It really feels violating.


Mar 24, 12 6:39 pm

Plus I discovered this 15 minutes after my bike shop closed for the day, so I am out of luck for all the errands I was going to run tonight.  What a bunch of jerks.

Mar 24, 12 6:40 pm

That sucks manta. I wish people realized that stealing parts of your bike is equivalent to stealing someone's car. An acquaintance reminded me that horse-theiving used to be punishable by hanging, and while I think that's going a bit extreme I certainly think something could be done to remind people that stealing the transportation of another person compromises their livelihood in a severe way.


Now I have to go through all the craptastic resumes of the people who are applying to replace me... I am continually horrified by how misguided the applicants are. I have applicants who don't bother to send resumes, some who don't bother to send work samples, many whose resumes signal that they don't know the first thing about design, and many more who have subsisted for years doing a completely different type of work (1-page ads, logos for tiny crappy companies) and make no acknowledgement that they are trying to move up in the work or make any sort of change and simply present this as though no explanation is needed as to why they're applying to a job completely different than what they've ever done before. Not only are these people not demonstrating the design skills I'm looking for, they aren't demonstrating common sense or awareness of the industry.

Mar 26, 12 1:30 pm

rationalist - that makes it easier to spot the right candidate. but you still have to wade through the poop.

Manta - I'm waiting for the actual invention of the electrified bike anti-theft system that William Gibson described in Virtual Light:

But it was really just an accident that the frame hit his gun. She saw an inch of lightning arc between her bike and the pistol, hot purple and thick as your finger, the particle-brake capacitors in the up-tube emptying their stored charge into the anti-theft system worked into the fake rust and the carefully frayed silver duct-tape. He went down on his knees, eyes unfocused, a single silver bubble of spit forming and bursting between his half-open lips. She thought she saw steam curl from the gun in his hand.

Not that this helps get your wheel back.

Mar 26, 12 3:03 pm

great book and great idea.  gibson is great.

being robbed sucks.  at least it wasn't by gunpoint (hows that for a bright side?)

speaking of crime AIJ, and investment fund in japan, just was caught falsifying documents to cover up the loss of more than a billion dollars.  a billion!  so much for my pension fund ;-)


sounds fun rationalist. At least it is for worthy cause.

Mar 26, 12 6:48 pm

will, you have pretty much owned that donna thread. some fantastic counterarguments. a green tea cookie for you!

So 3rd week of being in NYC and things are looking very good. Just the other day I found a free bicycle wheel. Wasn't even tied down to nothing. You just had to pop it off and go. 

Mar 26, 12 8:01 pm

rusty, you took the job? are you in nyc? (been off the threads a while..)

anyway, wlecome.  and sorry to hear about your bike, manta....that really sucks....

Mar 26, 12 9:18 pm

lol rusty.  who says a long commute on a train isn't good for anything?  in my defense, at least it is keeping me off the streets.

funny i see bicycle wheels all over the place too.  actually whole bikes would be more accurate.  tokyo is so safe few people use proper locks at all. most of japan is like that, except around the ports.  damn russian sailors (and i mean that in the nicest way possible) seem to feel an unlocked bike means nobody wants it, even if its in someone's front yard. isn't it great how multi-cultural interaction works?


glad you are happy in nyc.  very coolio!



Mar 26, 12 9:40 pm

i realized why i don't capitalize on the forums - it's faster to type in all lower case.

Mar 27, 12 4:09 pm

if you had tadao ando for 15-20 minutes interview, what would you ask him? (minus about boxing, i don't want to bore the guy)

Mar 28, 12 1:58 pm

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