PRP Now! Andre Rezaie // Overland Partners Architects

December 2, 2021
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'm working at Overland Partners Architects in San Antonio! Overland is a larger mid-size firm of about 65 employees, and is growing! OPA just recently expanded operations to a second office in Dallas with some of the most talented designers in sports architecture, and the firm's scope of work covers just about anything in scale, from urban design projects down to higher-end residential and park pavilions. Some of my favorite spaces in the Austin area have been designed by Overland Partners, such as the Student Activity Center on our campus and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in south Austin.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
I'm a born and raised Austinite, so I have visited San Antonio at least twice annually for as long as I can remember, but living in San Antonio is a totally different experience. While visiting San Antonio from the perspective of a tourist, you're probably doing the same repetitive things exclusively within the inner-most loop of freeways downtown, but living in San Antonio gives you a different perspective on what's around the city. There's also a great amount of state parks within a short day-trip distance from here like Garner, Government Canyon, and Lost Maples - which I went to this past weekend with some co-workers and went on a fun five-mile hike! Even if you don't want to drive too far, there's great city parks I really enjoy visiting such as Hardberger Park - home to one of only two land bridges in the US - and Eisenhower Park - which has a watchtower at the top of a hill with views of downtown San Antonio in one direction and the gorgeous Hill Country in the other. Tex-Mex cuisine here obviously blows Austin's offerings out of the water, and even though Austin owns the BBQ game, San Antonio isn't really too far behind.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
I have a lot of things on my desk. I have several drawings and graphics from a project pursuit for a university hotel and retail development I spent several months working on, some sketches for a majority of projects I have worked on since I started my internship, a roll of trace paper, a thank you card from a client I received at a schematic design workshop meeting, an audio headset I have used for lots of meetings, a sketchbook, my AirPods, my keys, and my water jug (it's important to stay hydrated).

PRP: Describe the firm culture? 
Working at Overland Partners has been a memorable experience within and outside of the office. The culture here leans heavily on collaboration as a core value, and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with a majority of people in our office at all levels of work experience, on a broad range of projects. As much as the workload can be intensive at times, balanced life is another core value and I have been able to make adjustments to my work week where some days are more demanding and I can leave the office earlier on some days accordingly. A really nice thing about working at Overland is that I have been able to work directly with, as well as get to know, nearly every Senior Principal and Principal in our office - as an intern!

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
I'll tell them I've missed them and ask to grab some BBQ from Franklin or Terry Black's, or some coffee at Monkey Nest or Mozart's.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I'm extremely excited to go to a UTSA football game Friday with some people from the office, since UTSA is having a good football season this year! Then I'll be in Austin for a holiday social event with NOMA Central Texas, as well as to spend some relaxing time with my parents.

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I would tell any UTSOA student who is able to do Professional Residency to do it and, when you apply for it, to trust that it'll work out! Since I am from Austin, I initially wanted to leave Texas for PRP. At the time I applied, the height of the COVID pandemic was still ongoing, which made going out of state particularly tough in my case. Toward the end of the application cycle, I decided to be flexible and told myself I would have an opportunity to leave Texas later for graduate studies or for professional life after school. I am glad I made that decision! Working on projects in the professional realm close to home, but in a new home, has been a valuable experience. In addition, you'll learn about many things in the world of architecture you don't learn in school - while you're still a student! As you embark on your PRP journey, don't be afraid to reach out to former professors, supervisors from past internships, and trusted mentors and colleagues in school to review your portfolio and resume!