PRP Now! Alline Kane // Architecture-Studio

November 20, 2015
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.

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 undergrad, domestic and international firms. PRP staff mostly recently had the pleasure to speak with Alline Kane [B.Arch. '16] about her experience.

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am currently working at Architecture-Studio in Paris, France. It was founded in 1973 and consists of an international team of architects, urban planners, interior designers, quantity surveyors, and sustainable design specialists. Although their main office is in Paris, they also have offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Venice. It's a great choice for PRP because of the huge variety of projects that pass through the firm. I've seen everything from hospitals, to hotels, to prisons, to schools, all at different scales and at different phases of development!

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Paris is a beautiful city! However, I've found that simply visiting it is very different from actually living and  working here.  With a big city comes lots of noise and people, but also comes with infinte events and sites to visit. The amount of art, history, and culture that its packed into this city is incredible. There is always some sort of event that is happening nearby.  Personally, I love it. It's been 4 months and I still haven't been able to visit everything!

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
Right now I have a bunch of highlighters and pens, tape, paint color samples, my sketchbook, some copies of the documents I've completed. We are in the process of finishing up for a deadline, so things are fast paced and my desk is not exactly at its neatest! For the past few weeks I've been flip flopping between two radically different projects. The first is a prison in Tahiti, while the second is a annex building for a small university in Paris. Both the programs and the scales of the projects are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, the prison being thousands of meters squared, while the university addition is a measly 500. The type of work I'm doing for each project varies as well, since the prison is almost done being built, while the school is still in the beginning phases of schematic design. Also, because the site is in Paris, I've been able to attend to a bunch of client meetings, which have been extremely interesting! Despite the differences, I have enjoyed being able to work on both of them. Also, its great to be able to switch to something else when you get tired of working on one project.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
The office atmosphere in general is very relaxed. Since the firm has so many projects going on, it also depends on who you are working with. Of course, things may get a little tense whenever a deadline is coming up, but that's normal. The people that work here are open and friendly. As my French has improved I've been able to get to know everyone better.

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Definitely do PRP. Also, don't be afraid to go international. It's an amazing opportunity to see how architecture firms function outside of the U.S. It's also the best way to learn another language. And the great thing is, you can still get IDP hours!

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I've planned to take a trip to Mont St. Michel in Normandy, France! It's a tidal island fortification dating back to the 6th century.  On the small outcrop of rock, they managed to perch a Church, an abbey, a monastery, and a tiny village! I'm very excited!

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
When working in a professional setting, ask questions. It's one of the best ways to learn. It's better to clarify things you may not understand from the beginning to ensure you get the job done correctly the first time.