KPF Office Tour, Other Issues

We had our tour of KPF this morning, which was interesting. Lots of nice projects and tons of cool study models stashed everywhere… At my last job, I never saw a single model being built in that office in two years of working there. I think that may become one of my criteria for evaluating prospective employers: Lots of study models = good. No study models = bad.

KPF sort of reminded me of Perkins + Will in terms of their corporate culture and general approach to design. Probably a bit too big for my taste (both in terms of the firm size and the typical project size), but as far as big corporate firms go, they’re doing some pretty nice work. The guys who showed us around were very cool, seemed to know their stuff well, and had a genuine interest in meeting with us.

Their office itself, though, was a big letdown. I guess I was sort of expecting lots of open spaces, high ceilings, clean lines, and high-tech detailing… Instead it was sort of a claustrophobic warren of various rooms, with a very 1980’s PoMo feeling to it all. It’s obvious they’ve been in that space for a long time, and everything had a pretty tired look. They’d be well-served by either renovating that space or moving into some new digs.

Long day in studio today, as we’re trying to wrap up our second project. In a nutshell, we have to build models that represent certain inherent characteristics of a number (from 0 to 9) that we’ve been randomly assigned. I have the number 9. Our critic mentioned that I seem to have a good knack for visualizing interesting spaces and a high level of craftsmanship, but that I need more of a theoretical concept — more of an agenda — to base it on. I tend to agree, as theory is probably my weakest point. I’ve always had a good intuitive design/aesthetic sense and a strong attention to detail, but I tend to find that most architectural theory goes right over my head. This dilemma was also reflected in many of the comments about my grad school portfolio a few months ago here on archinect…. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

My first of several job interviews is tomorrow morning… This is the firm that’s gotten pretty good reviews on, and seems to do decent design work. In the words of one reviewer, “Maybe not the starting lineup, but definitely major league material.” Time to bust out my brand-new Kenneth Cole black suit and shoes.

I’ve since heard back from a couple other firms that also want to meet with me… I’m pretty shocked at the response I’ve gotten. I’ve sent out 24 resumes and have gotten 5 callbacks so far… In 2004, I got about the same number of callbacks after sending out over a hundred resumes. What a difference three years makes.

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