PRP Now! aims to showcase the great experiences students encounter within the Professional Residency Program. PRP offers upper-level architecture students a unique opportunity to expand their education through work experience in the architectural profession. Over the past twenty years, our students have been linked with 260 firms in 29 countries. We will feature a handful of students within each session, graduate and undergraduate, domestic and international firms. PRP staff most recently had the pleasure to speak with Prashant Narayan [B.Arch. '18] about his experience.
PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I work at GXN, which is 3XN's research and innovation arm. We do research on sustainability and the circular economy as well as environmental psychology and behavioral analysis. We also consult with 3XN from time to time on these issues to help them with their design process. It's not the most traditional architecture internship, but it's been exciting so far!
PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Copenhagen is especially beautiful at this time of the year - summer is the perfect time to be here, but the city is always incredibly picturesque. As far as city planning is concerned, Copenhagen is perfect! You can bike anywhere, but if you don't have access to a bike, public transport is incredibly well-connected and every part of the city is really walkable. So far I've really enjoyed visiting all the churches here; they're all different, but beautiful in unique ways.
PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
My desk has some sheets of trace paper with sketches of diagrams on them, and a lot of books - a PhD dissertation on social psychology, some detail magazines they were going to throw out that I managed to nab, and a book on innovative sustainable architecture. All of the work I do is digital, so there aren't any drafting or model-making tools. Currently, I am working on some diagrams to help develop the Sydney Fish Market, which is a competition that 3XN won shortly before I arrived. I've also been testing out some solar shading modules for the roof in Grasshopper. GXN interns are lucky in that they get to work on 3XN projects from time to time!
PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
We work in a beautiful converted old boathouse, with exposed wood elements and expansive windows overlooking the water - every morning, the sun casts reflections off the water into the office, and we eat lunch by the water when the weather is nice. The office is unbelievably beautiful, like something out of a dream! Danish people really value a work-life balance and the office culture reflects this - I have not worked late hours since I have arrived. Everyone is productive and focused during their time here, but friendly and helpful as well. Because the office provides lunch every day, we all eat and socialize together, which keeps office culture very light and fun. People who work here come from all over the world, so there is a diversity of background and opinion that feels genuine and unforced. Interns are also given a surprising amount of responsibility - I'm not put on model-making duty, nobody hovers around my desk, and my design input is not only welcomed, but required.
PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT?
The rumors are true - Copenhagen really is perfect!
PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I plan on heading north to the Louisiana Museum to catch the Marina Abramovic exhibit, and to take advantage of the nice weather this month to explore the outdoor portions of the museum. I'll also be looking at the Church of the Holy Spirit, the oldest church in Copenhagen.
PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Try your best to break out of your comfort zone when you apply for PRP - you only get this opportunity once, and spending six months in a location where you know nobody can spark a lot of personal growth. I never planned on going to Copenhagen when I started this process, so be open to unexpected opportunities!