PRP Now! Camille Vigil // Olson Kundig

November 22, 2019
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 Olson Kundig in Seattle, Washington. It’s about a 200 person office right now, and has been growing quickly in the past few years. There are about 10 other interns here at any given time, from the U.S. and from all over the world. The office is in Pioneer Square in Downtown, Seattle. The office itself was designed and renovated by Olson Kundig and is beautiful, with lots of custom designed doors, hardware and furniture, and an openable skylight. The skylight has been open lately to let the summer breeze in! 

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Seattle is so nice, I love being able to walk so many places here, and how the city manages to be dense (compared to Texas) but still have such a small-scale feeling. It’s quite a calm and laid back city. The Olympic Sculpture Park is one of my favorite places here, but walking pretty much anywhere is bound to be beautiful. Also, I love how many coffee shops there are here!! 

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
Coffee, a stack of redlines, and a pile of sketching materials. 

I’m currently working on a confidential project, but before this I was helping with a few competitions and proposals the firm is working on. I love getting to see the marketing and what goes on behind the scenes of getting to a final design. 

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
Olson Kundig has many of the resources of a large firm, but with a small firm culture. The firm seems to reject a monotonous, corporate aesthetic and feel even as it grows, which I hugely appreciate.

The firm makes big efforts to keep the sense of community within the office strong as it grows; every thursday at 4:30 everyone steps away from their desks for a weekly design crit, which focuses on various topics; sometimes a topic is chosen to speak on design in general and share references, and other times a team will present a project they’re working on for help moving a design forward. At these crits, everyone in the firm gets an equal voice, whether it’s an intern or a principal, and everyone’s ideas/sketches are documented for the team to review moving ahead. The people here really are personally invested in design beyond the office in a way that’s so inspiring to me. The office does a great job of taking full advantage of this in design crits and all-office discussions. People here complete everything to a high level of craft for the sake of their own self interest in projects and for the sake of craft itself. 

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Definitely do PRP. Coming to a new city and knowing no one brought me such a great perspective and growth. It was definitely a dream to get to come here, and I’m so glad I did. I miss the Tex-Mex food and sunny skies of Texas though!!    

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
This coming weekend I have a friend from UTSOA visiting, so I’m planning to show her as much as possible in the city!