PRP Now! Amelia Webb // nARCHITECTS

January 18, 2022
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I work at nARCHITECTS, which is a small firm based in Brooklyn that largely designs cultural and multifamily buildings. They have a wonderful emphasis on blurring the lines between inside v. outside and built v. natural environments. 

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Since the office is in DUMBO, I had the chance to live in Manhattan, so I’ve been able to experience both boroughs! Living and working in NYC is truly an amazing experience. During the pandemic, lots of businesses took advantage of street space, which has led to a beautiful outdoor-oriented city life with food and music no more than a few blocks away at any given time. There’s always a pop-up shop or exhibition, free food, farmer’s markets, or some kind of public event happening, and I always manage to stumble across them. Despite all the bustle, there are also quiet times when the city feels peaceful. I tend to walk to and from the office, which is about a 40-minute walk over the Manhattan Bridge, and that walk is one of the hidden treasures of my whole experience. The views are stunning, I walk past and say ‘hi’ to the same few people, and sometimes get the whole bridge to myself. It's surprising how blissfully small the city can feel so easily. Also, a great phenomenon is furnishing whole apartments (including some of my own) with perfectly good furniture found on the side of the road, year-round. 

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
On my desk, I have a bottle of hot water, coffee that's somehow always cold, post-its, my 4th notebook since starting, some prints to drop off at another office, and a stack of papers and drawings from current and previous projects. I try to keep them all organized, but I usually fail. Currently, I’m working on two projects. One is the concept design of a master plan for a visual arts center in New Jersey, doing diagrams, programmatic sketches, and 3D modeling/rendering. The other is an RFP for a music school in Brooklyn where I’m helping conceptualize an approach and programmatic design for our submission. I’m also part office/marketing manager for the time being, and we are out of Goldfish and need to update our LinkedIn. So, I’m in the process of posting a series of LinkedIn updates while refreshing the Costco website, waiting for the 45-count, individually packed Goldfish to come back in stock. 

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
The firm culture is much like a school studio especially since there are only 10 of us total. Yet, we are surprisingly diverse with people from all around the states and some international. On an ordinary day, the office is focused, yet relaxed. Since everyone works in the same space, it's almost too easy to talk across the room when discussing projects or chit-chatting. All of us usually have lunch together with whoever’s in the office that day, either down by the East River or in a conference room when there’s bad weather. And, if there’s a birthday, someone will run downstairs to the bakery in our building and buy sweets for the office. Said bakery also only opens on the days we’re in office since pre-pandemic nA employees were likely their primary source of income. All in all, everyone works really hard and creates amazing work that is inspiring to be around. We still work from home a bit, which can make for some quieter days around the office. However, since there are so few of us, it has led to more opportunities for me to contribute to a wide range of projects and have a real impact on them. 

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
I haven’t quite figured this one out yet, but most likely, I’ll mention my surprise at how similar I found my experience to school work. The timelines are different, and I actually have free time. But, I felt surprisingly comfortable and confident while working in the ‘real world’.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
This weekend will be my last while working at nA, so we’ve planned a holiday and farewell dinner. Otherwise, I usually, purposefully don’t plan my weekends because, somehow, I always end up on last-minute adventures anyways!

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I read through some other students’ PRP Now!’s. They all say PRP is worth it, and I agree!