PRP Now! Anna Parkison // Olson Kundig

February 1, 2022
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.
PRP Now Title slide for Anna Parkinson

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am working with Olson Kundig in Seattle, Washington. I’ve gotten to work on a variety of project typologies in lots of neat locations ranging from a ski mountain in Utah to a cliffside in Hawaii. Currently, there’s about 15 interns who sit together in the front of the office and there’s so much positive energy from being surrounded by such talented individuals. The interns get to bounce around to different project teams and really learn about the design process in depth. The firm really values a collaborative, explorative work environment and seeks projects that have a unique tie to the user and the surrounding landscapes- something that drew me to the firm in the beginning.
PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
I absolutely love Seattle. It has been so much fun getting to explore a new city. Seattle really has the best of both worlds - there is equally as much to do and see within the city as there is outside of it. Summer there is beautiful. It’s not always as cold, dark, and rainy as everyone says. I got to enjoy several hikes exploring the Pacific Northwest and loved being surrounded by water. Weekend hangouts on the beach or trips to a cabin in the woods were some of my favorite moments. The trees over there put Texas to shame. My bus ride to work started my day showing off the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier in the distance. Seattle has been a surprisingly easy place to make friends, too, which makes it hard to leave.
PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
My desk is always covered with trace paper, a sketchbook filled with notes, and a latte - thanks to our office espresso machine. Currently, I’m working on a project along the coast of Mexico. I’ve gotten to really dive deep with this project during the last few months of my internship doing tasks including concept design massing, master planning, and rendering. I love the depth of creativity and range of software/media that we get to utilize at Olson Kundig. My team members have been highly impactful to my growth within the internship, as well.
PRP: Describe the firm culture.
The firm culture is one of my favorite aspects about Olson Kundig. People are passionate about design and always bring in unique interests and perspectives. Everyone is so friendly and genuinely enjoys spending time together. The intern group, specifically, is always planning events together like Happy Hour or Friendsgiving. Olson Kundig holds a weekly “Thursday Crit” where the firm comes together at 4:30 and grabs a drink and critiques one of the current projects. This longstanding tradition in the firm is such a neat way to collaborate and interact with our fellow employees. There was even one week during crit where all employees were invited to design a Cat Tower and present it to the office. The winner got to form a team to fabricate their design in the wood shop.
PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT?
Definitely do PRP! It’s the perfect experience to try out a new city, experience a real firm environment, and learn so many things that you aren’t going to learn in a school setting.
PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
For my last weekend in Seattle, I’m playing some tennis, cooking dinner with friends, and hitting up some of my favorite spots before I pack up. The intern group had a sweet going away party for me, too. Each time an intern finishes the internship, the other interns make them a personalized gift in the woodshop - a neat tradition I’ll get to remember my experience by.
PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
PRP is the perfect way to get out of your comfort zone. After all, it is only 6 months and it’ll go by quicker than you imagine.