Monday, January 3, 2011 (at BRB Architects)
9:30 am - Arrived at BRB Architects to meet with Partner Mr. Robert Vuyosevich ('76,*79 ). During this time Bobby told Vivian and I about the history of the firm and his educatinal/work experience too. We also talked about Princeton - dormitories, courses, famous professors, exams, etc.
10:30 am - Met w/ Mark Maljanian, Design Director/Associate Partner, to review two projects: Trinity School Chapel and Molloy College Student Center.
Mark is really involved in designing the projects. He has a minimalist style, which I really liked. He had just finished a project at Trinity School, where he re-did their chapel. He showed us the development of the design, from hand sketches to computer graphics and finally to the real thing.
11:00 am - Attended weekly partner/associate partner meeting. This meeting involved the social aspects of the firm, whether they should have more meetings or lunches with junior architects, and how they wanted to bridge the relationship gap between them.
12:30 pm - Lunch and studio tour with Junior Architect, Osamu Osawa, to discuss transition from academic to professional environment and to learn about typical workday. We went to a bistro right next to the office building and grabbed some lunch, then we talked and ate in the café area in the office with other junior architects. Osamu is the youngest employee - he just graduated from VTech. I discussed with many the difference between school and real work, different degrees/education plans, whether or not graduate school was worth it, and just in general what it was like working at BRB.
2:30 pm - Met w/ Partner Bob Vuyosevich for review of Qualifications package for job at Williams College. Here we learned about how to make a sales pitch, because architect firms have to compete against other firms to win projects/clients. Bobby showed us how they managed public relations (sending postcards, publishing a book to send to clients), and also showed us a Qualifications package and how they laid out their firm profile and 'sold' themselves.
3:30 pm - Met w/ Project Architect, Yuan Diao, to review construction drawings of Molloy College Student Center and Dorm. We learned about an ongoing project - Molloy College - and Yuan showed us all the construction documentation, which are basically HUGE books with large sheets of paper that had details of every single room, pipe, and air vent drawn. There was a lot of text and a lot of codes. We also talked with Richard, who is the main overseer of the Molloy College project. We talked about the difference between engineers and architects, and how they worked with each other.
5:00 pm - Met w/ web-site designer (with partners/associate partners in attendance) to see new web-site. This was a very interesting experience. I learned that architects are very focused on design, and perfecting designs. The partners spent a lot of time asking the website designers about the aesthetic details. Through my observations I found that there are fundamental differences between engineers and architects regarding the level of emphasis on aesthetics. I think I may be the former and so I found myself wondering if architecture is really right for me.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 (Various sites in and around NYC)
8:00-11:00 am - Bob Vuyosevich accompanied us as we met Project Architect, Richard Snyder, on the site of a new student center at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY.
This was a very cool experience. Both physically and mentally. It was freezing, but we walked around the construction site at Molloy College, where Bobby talked about structures, and what the engineers were doing. We also learned that sometimes projects cannot go the way architects want them to be. For example, there is one wall where all the doors to a room are slightly aligned incorrectly, because of a worker's misreading. We learned that this could cost the company a lot of money and time, but mistakes always happen some way or the other. I really liked the experience, and I definitely think I want to work with architects and building structures, but I probably want to do the engineering side of the work.
11:00am-1:00pm - - Returned to NYC and Lunch
On the car trips and during lunch, Bobby told us a lot about working dynamics. He had a lot of anecdotes about people who dropped out of architecture, handling unhappy clients, and working with difficult personalities. We also talked quite a lot about Princeton. He was in the Nassoons, which is pretty cool!
1:00 pm - Visited Trinity School Chapel, Upper West Side, NYC. After lunch we visited Trinity School and looked at the chapel that Mark designed. It was even more beautiful than the photographs! We saw how some things just can't go the way as planned. For example, there had to be a RED fire smoke detector that clashed with the color scheme of the room. Also, some lights could not be fixated in the desired places and had to end up elsewhere. The ventilation system of the room was very clever - it was covered by a bed of rocks. Also, the skylight and the secret doors were very impressive.
2:00-5:00 pm - Visited The AIA Center for Architecture to view current exhibitions.
Finally, Bobby dropped us off at the AIA Center for Architecture, but before he did that we took a quick tour around NYC to see the "cool" buildings today. There was one by Frank Gehry, which was amazing. We also passed by the Chelsea Piers where BRB has done some work. At the AIA Center, Vivian and I walked around the museum, enjoyed the exhibits, and then headed back to Princeton.
I definitely enjoyed this experience! It has taught me that I am an engineer rather than an architect, but also that I want to work with buildings in my future. I think that it has helped me choose my major at Princeton, and I will be doing the Civil Engineering/Architecture program!