Posted by: PatrickJL | May 3, 2007

a couple of alcoholics with an architecture problem.

So we should have started this a long time ago but we’re soon to be architects so we never do anything on time. Eliot, and I have decided to start a blog that charts our progress through our internships to becoming architects.

Here’s a fun idea for our first post. Strange, odd, horrible first job stories. Go ahead, try and beat mine, i dare you.

My first internship was a small five person firm in old town St. Charles. It was not the most exciting of internships to say the least. My first duty on the job was to organize the product catalogs which appeared as if they were never placed in order to begin with. Then I was to answer the phones and organize boxes and boxes, boxen of files if you will, that contained years of billing, change orders, and the likes of that. I think I had a fairly good idea of what my boss thought of interns…worthless. Well if I’m worthless, why is he the one working on Kentucky Fried Chickens, Taco Bells, and Car Dealers…all of which are prototypes which means he doesn’t design anything, he only makes them fit to the site. Hey, it was a job, and I needed an internship to graduate. It just goes to show you how worthless this requirement was. What did I get out of this you ask, I now know the alphabet like the back of my hand.

Internship number two was at a “new urbanism” firm in downtown Springfield, everyone should know who I’m talking about. However I question their claim to the ideals of new urbanism. My tenure there, however short, never saw a project where the practice of new urbanism was being utilized. I worked on a municipal building for a small town in northeast Missouri and that was about it. It seems having a cool name for your firm is half the battle. The brainstorming must go something like this.

Joe Schmoe – “Hmm, somethings not right about Joe Schmoe Architects, what about Joe Schmoe – New Urbanism, ya that sounds wonderful.”

Employee – “What’s new urbanism?”

Joe Schmoe – “How the hell should I know?, sounds pretty sweet though, doesn’t it?”

The previous two were internships were child’s play from what I was about to experience. I know what your thinking because I was thinking the same thing. Is this what the real world of architecture was like? My first job out of school only reinforced this thought.

My first ‘real’ job was at a small firm in Chesterfield, MO where I can say that my ‘first job story’ beats yours. I haven’t even heard yours you say…well I still beat it, in fact I kick it’s ass. Not to trump your story right off the bat but on my first day, I enter the office and my boss is sans shirt. Thats right no shirt. Before you ask, my boss is not an attractive woman, nor an attractive man for that matter. He is a man where age has started to take over the body. I saw things one shouldn’t have to see no matter what the crime. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was designing funeral homes! Ya, I said it, funeral homes. I don’t know what morbid human finds enjoyment in this line of work but apparently I was the guy who found him. This was not in the job description. He emailed me some work of his when I was inquiring about the job. His work was pretty good. He had a good reputation for getting his buildings built, which was also a plus. Let me tell you that not one funeral home was in his portfolio…no shit. Who wants to claim that? OK, maybe it would be interesting to design a funeral home, but only one time, not ninety times.

My current internship is at a sustainable design firm in St. Louis, MO. There are only five of us and it has brought some interesting opportunities my direction and I like it so far. I have learned much more than I ever thought I would want to know about LEED and I am hoping to take the test at the end of the summer. The office has an open atmosphere and reminds me of studio which is why I think I like it so.

ok, go ahead, it’s your turn now…


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