PRP Now! Austin Ablon // Tsao & McKown

October 10, 2016
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.
Austin PRP now

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 most recently had the pleasure to speak with Austin Ablon [B.Arch. '17] about his experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am working at Tsao & McKown in Gowanus, Brooklyn. There are about 20 of us and several UT alumni.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
NY is great! My two brothers are here along with plenty of other UT students. There is plenty of great food and things to see. Trying a new bar in a new neighborhood is a great way to spend Friday night.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
We just sent off the FFE DD revisions for a villa project in China. It is part of a larger health and wellness resort complex which includes hotels, spas, and vacation homes. The house we are finishing up will be used as a show villa. On my desk are various plans and elevations most of which I got to draw, mark up, and redraw. I also got to draft several custom furniture pieces that will be sent to local manufactures in China. Great to have in my portfolio!

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
The office is small so it is easy to talk to everyone. However most people eat lunch at their desks so they can keep working. There are office happy hours every now and then too. One of the principles is fairly animated about how he works and interacts with everyone. Sometimes he can be loud and intimidating but his talent and design ability always comes through. Its great to interact with principles because I always end up learning something new.

 PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Pick a great city and a firm that does work you could see yourself doing. Its already beginning to hit me that I will be graduating soon. If I am going to spend my time doing anything, it should be doing something worthwhile that will further me towards my goals.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
Its my little brother's birthday! My parents will be in town as well so this weekend will be all about finding the best food and drinks around the city. Most likely we will hit up Dough Doughnuts for my dad and V-Spot (a vegan restaurant) for my mom. I will try to find a good jazz bar for us too!

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Really research your firm, their work, their office culture, the programs they use, before you pick where you want to work. Odds are you will have plenty to work on and will learn a lot no matter where you go. So, its important to find a place with good people and connections to make... maybe even a place where you can go back to after you graduate. Also, realize that most firms in NY are just Design firms (no construction documents). If you want to learn how to detail a building, make sure you pick a firm that does construction drawings in-house!