PRP Now! Andrew S. Hong // BIG

October 26, 2018
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 undergraduate, domestic and international firms. PRP staff most recently had the pleasure to speak with Andrew S. Hong [B.Arch. '19] about his experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am working at Bjarke Ingels Group's New York office. We are located in Dumbo with over 200 designers and architects in the office. BIG is known for their unconventional design and social concepts across different typologies such as multi family residential, museums, offices, stadiums, masterplans, etc. There are also two other locations in Copenhagen and London working mainly on Europe and Asia projects. 

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Since I was born and raised in Texas, New York has definitely been drastically different. There are always so many things going on so I can never be bored. Everyday is always different and interesting through work or even the daily commute. I have enjoyed visiting many of the art museums and seeing many of the exciting new architectural developments within the city.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
There are a lot of marked up axon diagrams around me. I have mainly been working in Rhino in both drafting plans and diagrams and updating the 3D model with different options. I am currently working on a masterplan concept in California. We are in talks with the clients and hoping that our vision through the masterplan will enable the client to hire us to do the architecture. While working on the concept, we are also supplying "toolkit" package of various typologies and designs to further engage conversation about a future phasing together.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
The firm culture is definitely work hard, play hard. Every designer in the office is very meticulous and thorough on every drawing, model, and presentation. Our team works until the last minute before every meeting with the client. Working at BIG is really like working with your friends since everyone in the office is very social and friendly.

One thing that was surprising for me is how much input I was able to have within the project both graphically and through the design. As intense as it sounds everyone still manages to have a lot of fun. There are huge biannual parties that the office throws where everyone dresses up in costumes for the theme. There are always weekly events whether its a Friday Bar or an office wide Petcha Kutcha. Also another huge perk is not having a dress code and wearing comfortable clothes to the office everyday.

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
I miss New York. I think I'll go back after graduation, but first I just really want some Tex-Mex and BBQ. 

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I am planning to take a day trip upstate to Dia Beacon which is a contemporary art museum inside an old factory!