PRP Now! Judy Labib // JAJA Architects

October 28, 2021
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 JAJA Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark. Is a small firm of 18 people plus our office dog, Utzon. JAJA works on projects at a variety of scales from a small market pavilion to master planning communities. You might know them for their Park ‘N Play.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Copenhagen is extremely remarkable, I can best describe it as an ageless city, there are trampolines alongside sidewalks, lots of really wonderful parks and playgrounds for everyone and lots of swimming in the canals. The weather doesn't stop anyone from getting around and enjoying the outdoors. The best feeling is biking around the city with friends on a Friday when the weather is nice and the sun is setting. Copenhagen holds its title as the most bike friendly city in the world and Denmark is also ranked the most environmentally friendly country in the world. I think everyone owes Copenhagen a trip, especially in the summer.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
On my desk is a notebook, some form of a Danish sweet, sometimes a ginger shot, and plenty of trace paper sketches as well as a feet to meters conversion tab and a google translate tab for some quick keywords. I’m currently working on a couple of local projects, right now most of my work is for a villa 30 minutes away from Copenhagen but I am also working on an elementary school in Rødovre and the taekwondo club underneath the office is turning into office spaces so I am also on that project too! 

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
We all begin our day recovering from a rainy bike commute and hang up random articles of clothing on the radiators. The office is wonderful. It's in Nørrebro and just a short walk away from Superkilen Park. Jaja is very laid back and everyone is so easy going and eager to help. Jaja is quite a distinguishable office as we are spearheading many mobility projects and working on car free(dom) proposals. Half of the office is Danish and the other half is international which makes for a beautifully diverse setup. We have a catered lunch together everyday, which is always a good time to chat for a bit and learn a bit of Danish. The office is dappled with models, materials samples, and an office dog every now and then. We occasionally head out onto our rooftop (which may or may not be legally occupiable) for Friday bars or an outside lunch when the weather is nice. 

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Don't take Amy's Mexican vanilla and Homeslice for granted. 

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
This weekend I’m planning to hang out with a couple of friends and go to Kulturnatten (Culture Night), which is a citywide event where everything from zoos to museums to libraries is open until midnight. I’ll also be heading to Venice with my fellow UTSOA dane, Andrew Brandt, at the beginning of November to check out the city and to also visit the biennale. I'm excited for more weekend trips and spending time with other interns and friends! 

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Take the chance to do PRP abroad if you can! I don't know how I’ll be leaving Copenhagen; it's a one of a kind experience to try working somewhere that you could be interested in post grad. I feel I’m obtaining a totally new toolset being here in terms of learning how to be adaptable and live/work in a completely new country alongside enriching my architectural studies.