PRP Now! Clifford Vickrey // Kieran Timberlake

August 30, 2016
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.
clifford vickrey

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 Clifford Vickrey [B.Arch. '17] about his experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I'm working at Kieran Timberlake in Philadelphia. It's a firm with over 100 employees working on a handful of projects, most of which are higher education. The unique thing about KT is its Research Department, which is involved in some way with every project. There is a blurry line between the architecture and research departments, but more or less it's a group of about 20 people with an array of experience (architecture, programming, environmental science) who work on anything from more efficient software workflows to climate sensors to material selection. 

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Philadelphia is awesome. It's a geographically small city (biking and walking are my only two forms of transportation), but it's dense, so there's quite a bit of variety between different neighborhoods. Fairmount Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the country. And there's lots of amazing food that isn't philly cheesesteaks. 

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
I've got a stack of drawings, mostly details and wall sections, a roll of trace, and two monitors. I'm on a project for WashU in St. Louis, which is moving from design development into construction documents. I'm working primarily on the exterior envelope for our buildings, which means lots of details! I also have a desk fan, which is a vestige of the office's self-experimentation with passive cooling. 

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
The whole firm works in one big room in an old bottling factory, with a kitchen and shop space below. It's casual and friendly. There is not much hierarchy; Kieran and Timberlake both sit in the middle of the office. Every piece of furniture is on wheels, so the office can rearrange itself as need be. People are driven and focused but not obsessive. Staying late is not expected (unless there's a deadline). Another interesting part of the firm is that they help with and encourage the licensing process, so everyone gets licensed within a year of finishing the IDP. That may sound scary when you're in school, but I think it's evidence that KT is interested in distributing responsibility and knowledge throughout the firm, even if it means directing a lot of resources and energy to something without an immediate payout. 

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Philly is cool. (If you get anxiety about missing out on New York City where all your classmates will be for PRP, fear not, it's only about 2 hours by bus and less by train.) Also, working at KT is not as overwhelming or as corporate for what you would expect from a 100+ person firm. Pay attention in construction class. 

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I will continue my quest for the best bowl of pho in Philly (a difficult task). Depending on the weather, some folks from the firm may go tubing on the Upper Delaware. (who knew they did that on East Coast?) Undoubtedly lots of running and biking, and a visit to my neighborhood farmer's market. 

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Hook 'em.