PRP Now! Greyson Rubin // KPF

October 18, 2018
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.

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 undergraduate, domestic and international firms. PRP staff most recently had the pleasure to speak with Greyson Rubin [B.Arch. '19] about his experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am working at Kohn Pedersen Fox, in the New York office, which is the firm’s largest office with over 400 people. KPF is well-known for super their supertall buildings which have transformed skylines around the world. The work KPF produces spans all across the world, and includes airports, master-plans, cultural complexes, educational buildings, beautiful residential towers, large office headquarters, and anything in between.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Living in New York City has been a big adjustment, but a great experience so far. There is always something going on in the city, so after work or on the weekends, there is plenty to do. Food in the city is fantastic, and I have spent many days on the weekends exploring and eating my way through all the different neighborhoods of the city. During the summer, there are lots of concerts, sports games, and all other events going on, so it’s easy to join in the hustle-and-bustle of NYC. Some of my favorite parts of the city happen at the intersection of urban and nature. It’s great to go for a run along the Hudson River or through Central park, or hang out in Bryant Park (right next to our office).

In the city you rely heavily on the subway or walking around. It’s definitely an adjustment not being able to drive in my car or ride my bike wherever like in Austin, but it is an easy system to navigate. Just add a few more minutes to your ETA, because it always takes longer to get to your destination than you think.  

There are so many Longhorns in the city, so there are plenty of ways to still feel part of the Forty Acres while you are away if you want that. The Texas-Exes chapter is really strong in NYC and it’s a great way to build an instant community in such a massive city.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
I have a few drafts of elevations I have been working on this past week for a mixed-use high-rise in San Francisco. Under that, you’ll find plenty of diagrams, plans, sections, and draft presentations for a high-tech office headquarter building in San Jose. I’ve spent most of my time on this project doing all sorts of tasks. I’ve spent lots of time modeling in Rhino, revising plans in CAD, and creating plenty of diagrams. KPF uses a lot of Rhino in the design process, so I’ve been able to learn about more about a software I did not know too well before, and my team has been really helpful with answering any questions I have.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
Being such a large office, KPF has an endless amount of design and technical resources and lots of standards to learn. Everyone at the office is incredibly diligent and hard working at the task at hand, as everyone is highly motivated to produce the best design possible. The office has a formal dress code; guys can expect to be in a nice button down and pants every day. Fridays are more casual as you get to wear jeans and tennis shoes which is a nice relief walking around in the humidity of the city (That's why I'm in a polo today).

With so many employees, it can feel daunting to find your place in the office, but KPF has lots of communities and events to get involved with. Joining the softball team and participating in the office-wide lectures and happy hours have been great opportunities to meet and connect with other employees I wouldn’t usually interact with. At KPF, you definitely become really close with the immediate team you work with. If you are curious about learning a particular software or working on a certain aspect of the project, my team managers have been really responsive to that. Additionally, my team has been more than willing to help teach a new skill or just talk about their time with the firm.

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
The BBQ brisket and Tex-Mex of NYC doesn’t come close to Austin!

Take advantage of the internship or job you are at. Make sure to approach each day with a positive attitude and always be eager to help out your team. It really shows you’re invested in what you are doing. If you aren’t a huge fan of what you are currently doing, just ask, as you’ll find your coworkers and mentors can be very accommodating in finding ways for you to best succeed.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I’ll be heading to Baltimore and Washington DC this weekend to watch the Longhorns take on the University of Maryland for the first game of the season. It’s Labor Day Weekend, so getting an extra day off on Monday just makes this weekend even more exciting!