PRP Now! Laney Gorman // Weiss/Manfredi

April 21, 2016
PRP Now! is a series of interviews that highlight a current UTSOA Professional Residency Program student every few weeks.
prp now

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 mostly recently had the pleasure to speak with Laney Gorman [B.Arch. '17] about her experience. 

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I'm working at Weiss/Manfredi in New York City. The firm has just under 40 employees working on a variety of institutional projects. Most of the current projects are for university campuses. 

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
New York has been wonderful. Living in a city of this scale has definitely changed my perspective on how much things like public transportation and access to public green space can affect your day-to-day life. Moving here was definitely intimidating at first, but once I got into a routine I started to really enjoy it. I will say, the rumors are true- New York is absolutely an expensive city to live in, but its also an incredible place filled with diverse people and neighborhoods. The experience is definitely worth the extra rent, in my opinion.

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
I've been on the same project team since the beginning of my residency- we're working on a building for the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine on their campus in Ithaca, NY. The project is in Construction Administration, so I've mainly been working on FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) but I've spent the past week or so doing renderings for the donor signage package. Currently on my desk is my faithful legal pad where I take notes and write out to-do's, a collection of pens and markers, a scale, wood finish samples and a large pile of marked up renderings.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
I'd describe the firm as very friendly and collaborative. The office is set up in an open room where everyone is grouped into bays with their project team. We eat lunch together most days- in the winter we would sit in one of the conference rooms, but now that the weather is getting nice we will go sit by the Hudson River, which is only a couple blocks west of the office, and eat lunch outside. Something that I found unique is that everyone in the office works hard to make sure that the best work is being done across all the project teams. There is definitely a culture of pinning up work for the whole office to see and learn from, which I find to be really great. There is a sense of teamwork, even down to doing office chores. Everyone has a small task around the office that they do to keep things tidy and clean. 

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT? 
Well, first I will ask literally everyone to get chips and queso and margaritas with me. Tex-Mex cuisine is not a thing in NYC (yet). Then I will tell them about how compared to school, projects in architecture firms move like molasses. You have time to think of every detail and you have no idea how many details you have to think of until you work on a real project- it's crazy. And great. And that they should all do PRP.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
Not too busy this weekend! The weather has been really nice this week and I'm planning to attend my first rooftop party of the summer on Saturday (which is apparently all anyone does here during the summer). I might spend some time at Prospect Park on Sunday getting some sun and trying to play with everyone else's dogs.

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
A common piece of advice, but use your time on residency to explore things you wouldn't normally do. If that means moving somewhere crazy or going to a firm whose design's might not completely agree with what you consider to be your "personal style", embrace the change! Don't be intimidated to ask for the firm you want or live in the city that you want- even if it seems impossible. There's always something to learn from experiences outside of your comfort zone.