PRP Now! Dylan King // Rick Joy Architects

October 18, 2017
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.
prp now! Rick Joy_ Dylan King

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 Dylan King [M.Arch. '18] about his experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I'm working at Rick Joy Architects (RJA) in Tucson, Arizona.  RJA is a 30-person firm specializing in high-end single-family housing and resorts, although this realm has recently expanded to include some mixed-use and civic projects.  I think what makes RJA's work unique is a rigorous focus on material honesty and holistic experience.  Some of the more frequently-referenced architects at RJA include Luis Barragan, Carlo Scarpa, and Louis Kahn.  Strong attention is paid to dualities of heaviness/thinness, darkness/lightness, and balance/imbalance.  There is an equally strong rejection of material application, superfluous ornamentation, and nihilistic floor tile transitions at thresholds.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Tucson is in limbo between being a small city and a big town.  There are enough breweries, restaurants, shops, and music venues to support a quasi-urban lifestyle.  However, sometimes I find myself walking to work on a Friday and realize I haven't passed another person on the sidewalk all week.  This can be eerie but is inherently part of Tucson's identity.  My favorite aspects include huge cacti everywhere, mountains on the horizon, and Eegee's.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
"The Architecture of Ricardo Legorreta," eclipse glasses, desk fan, metric scale, and a miniature brick of pressed dirt from Brisbane, Australia.  I'm currently building Rhino models, constructing renderings, and assembling presentation packages for the public programs of a large resort in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
There's a strong international culture at RJA.  Many employees moved to the United States specifically to work here - representing countries from Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  The office itself is one of Rick's first projects, Convent Avenue Studios, and made of rammed earth.  There is one main cabin, four satellite studio units, and a model shop.  There are also several courtyards within the complex, creating a campus-like atmosphere.  Also contributing to the atmosphere is neutral linen clothing, suspiciously tiny French presses, fuel-efficient cars, Portishead-heavy radio stations, and (sometimes) vegan donuts.

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
I'll probably first listen to everyone returning from residency complain about the taco withdrawals they experienced and proceed to bring up that at RJA we had Taco Fridays.  During lunch on Taco Fridays, we carpool to one of the multiple authentic taquerias Tucson has to offer.  I still prefer Taco Joint on San Jacinto, though.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I'm planning to visit San Diego, which is only a six hour drive, and hopefully visit the Salk Institute.  Las Vegas, NV, and Santa Fe, NM, are similar distances, making Tucson an ideal hub for exploring the Southwest.  Also, RJA has a soccer team and we have a game this Sunday (Go Slumlords).

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Similar to Andrew's comment - Tucson is weirder than Austin... by far.