Dropping in to visit a firm?!


Okay, so over break I have an unexpected opportunity to visit a couple cities that I see myself potentially landing in after graduation for a job. Anyways, time is limited to plan firm visits - but I still want to capitalize on my time there. 

My main question is:

Is it inappropriate to drop into firms I'm interested in and just say something to the effect "Hi, I am a Graduate Architecture Student just in town a couple of days  and I really admire your guys' work and was wondering if I could take a peek around the office?" Then if they let me, awesome, if not leave them with a "Portfolio Teaser" (kinda like a large business card/post card with a small taste of my work a link to my website and my contact info)

Not sure if it will be annoying to have unplanned visitors. But I do feel like leaving them with something physical is more catching than just another email in the pile of hundreds.


Dec 1, 13 6:14 pm

Please, please, please contact them first to give them a heads up.  Email telling them you'd like to stop by or even set up an informational interview.  If no response give them a follow up call.  I work at a small firm that constantly gets random students dropping by to drop off their stuff.  It's so awkward and even more so if we're in meetings.  At my firm, it isn't really that beneficial to drop by (the firm partners are more than happy to allow it if they have time) since your stuff goes with the rest of the portfolios in a crate but it definitely couldn't hurt (unless you make fun of a rival school that happens to be the partner's undergrad school... random drop bys can get interesting...)  Actually, sometimes if you make the right impression they might assist with contacting other firms (maybe even ask them so you can get the foot in the door of other firms, all the firms in the area should know each other from AIA events)

Good luck!

Dec 1, 13 7:27 pm  · 

I thought the title was "... to visit a farm."  To this I was going to write: go ahead, but be careful where you step.

As it happens, the advice applies to both situations.

Dec 1, 13 9:21 pm  · 

Call first.  Except in very few cases, a drop-in will not be appreciated.

Dec 1, 13 11:32 pm  · 

Firms and archiects can be agreeable to having fans.  But definitely send an email first.  Don't just asked to viist but first say something nice about their work, why you like it. 

If you really want to blow their mind, send a snail mail letter and take the opportunity to show off your penmanship by handwriting it.  Older architects specially love that kind of thing.

Dec 2, 13 11:04 am  · 

Exactly the same thought I had, citizen. Rubber boots are a good idea. Or waders if it's a starchitect.

Dec 2, 13 11:56 am  · 

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