>Architects eat their young


I can’t remember where I initially heard this phrase, but time and time again I have seen it in action and know that it is very true. Recently I got this posting on the Archinect Jobs Board delivered to my Google Reader. I just had to copy the whole thing here because I am afraid you won’t click on the link and then miss the point of this post:

Robert Siegel Architects, a nationally acclaimed architecture firm, seeks two full time interns for a three month, uncompensated internship.
We are looking for talented and passionate people who are excited about making buildings and working outside their comfort zone towards innovation in architecture. Hard work and dedication, combined with inspiration and drawing ability, is one thing that all staff members share. You must have truly excellent written and oral communication skills.
Cover Letter:
Send us a brief, signed cover letter specific to Robert Siegel Architects that states why it makes sense to hire you. Graphic presentation is key. This is your first impression and demonstrates your ability as a designer. Use care in selecting the paper, the font, and the organization of text on the page.
One-Page Resume:
We are looking for great experience and commitment. Limit your resume to one page only.
Your Work Samples:
Show us only your best stuff and the work you are most passionate about. You should showcase your abilities – whether it is a sketch, a floor plan, a construction detail, wall section, spec section, watercolor, etc. So long as it is your work, we are interested in seeing it. Please do not show renderings made by others. Submitting renderings other than your own will lead to automatic rejection.
After making it through the first resume review process, we give selected promising candidates a graphic test in our office. The goals of this 20 minute test are:

  1. Drawing ability using a pencil. This is a tool that architects use to communicate. In our office we are always drawing and sketching freehand.
  2. Passion for architecture and analytical ability. There is a portion of the test in which you have to draw a plan and a section or elevation of any piece of architecture. Amazingly, either history is no longer taught or the relevance of our architectural past is not integrated into design curricula since most people fail this portion catastrophically.
  3. Basic design ability. This is a classic “Architecture 101” test to measure spatial design ability.

Personal Interview:
You will be asked to present highlights of your work and a detail or two. Move quickly and ask questions. Let the person conducting the interview hold the portfolio and turn at their own pace. You must demonstrate your ability to edit and to be concise. Do not be late: Make sure that you are on time and are dressed as if you were meeting with a valued client.
Professional References:
You should have outstanding professional references that are able to talk about your specific strengths and abilities. Please have these ready to give at the conclusion of a personal interview.
Would you like to work on projects ranging in size from $500,000 to $200 million in construction value? Are you energized by the idea of working with outstanding public clients including the United States General Services Administration and the New York State University Construction Fund? Do you enjoy working with private companies and high-end private residential clients?
Robert Siegel Architects focuses on architectural innovation, every day, for every client. Our staff is an energetic and talented group drawn from all over the world with a passion for architecture and expertise in design, technology, urban and graphic design.
Applicants should be strong designers with outstanding drawing and/or model-making skills, and have strong organizational and communication skills. Applicants must be proficient in AutoCAD and Rhino.
Applicants must be authorized to work in the U.S. and have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
If you would like to be part of our growth and are interested in contributing to the creative process at a design, detail and management level, we would like to see your work. For consideration please mail (no emails, please) the following:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. Work Samples that demonstrate your design and technical ability

Please send to:
Robert Siegel Architects
Attn: Nadine Friedman
37 West 37th Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Okay, clearly they have high standards at Robert Siegel Architects. If you take a second to look at their website, you can see that they produce amazing work, so I don’t doubt that there are some very talented people working there. But did you catch the part about “three month uncompensated internship” ? Who, in this economy, has the means to live in New York (one of the most expensive cities in the world) unpaid and work their hiney off for three months? I guess that drastically reduces the candidate pool right there. I’ve been sitting on this post for over a week trying to figure out what I wanted to say about it, just because this job-posting left me a little on edge. It is far more involved than any job application process I have seen in a while, though I sure it is effective. It reads a little like an undergraduate studio project assignment, frankly.

As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I am in the midst of a job search, so seeing this is yet another reminder of how tough it is out there. I’m drowning a little bit, questioning my choice of professions (for about the 5th time in my life) and then I see something like this, making me feel even more beat-down. But at the same time it makes me wish I could go back in time a few years when I could have jumped at this opportunity, figured out the debt-part later, and been chewed up and spit out taken a much different path in my career.

Here’s an example of a project by Robert Siegel Architects somewhere in D.C. (doesn’t say where on their website) that I particularly like… it’s called Sunwall:

sunwall_horizonta_web sunwall_vertical_web

What did you think of this job-posting when you read it? Am I over-reacting?


One thought on “>Architects eat their young

  1. >You are great at what you do, and have an incredible eye. Don't question yourself, because you were meant to do this. The economy is preventing firms, large and small, from growing..thus the dearth of jobs. You have the advantage of being able to write eloquently about the situation. I thought the requirements and application process were way too much for the unpaid position..how about helping someone less skilled with this position. You can almost imagine the scenario of many "interns" working there under adifficult, competitive situation. I think, frankly, they are ripping people off!

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