PRP Now! Mabel Loh // Snohetta

January 19, 2019
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 Mabel Loh [M.Arch. '19] about her experience.

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I am very honored to be placed at the Snøhetta office in New York. Snøhetta is an award-winning design firm founded in 1988 . Snøhetta US was started in 2004 with offices in New York and San Francisco. There are 65 of us in the office encompassing architecture, interior and landscape. The firm is well recognized with projects like the Times Square, 911 Memorial Pavilion and SFMoMA Expansion.

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
Living and working in New York City has been an incredible experience. My favorite aspect of working at the current office location is the proximity of the office to some of the best architecture and urban works in the city. I enjoyed walking Brooklyn bridge home and having lunch at the pier in the summer and now I love stopping by the Oculus for a quick window shopping before taking the train home after work. The office is a 10-minute walk away from the 911 Memorial, Battery Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Aside from all the great architecture, I have had lots of great art and culinary experience in the city too!

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
My desk is quite clean at the moment as we just returned from the holiday, but I am anticipating a quick clutter with sketches and prints soon as I’m working on 3 projects at the same time. One of them is our very own design at the Blanton Museum of Art at the UT Campus! I am very humbled to be assigned to a wide variety of responsibilities since I started. In 6 months, I got to work on 5 projects. They differ in scale, program, location, and scope of work. It’s been a whirlwind of an experience, but I am extremely grateful for how much I have learned about architecture and landscape.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
Snøhetta is a wonderful place- filled with incredibly talented and passionate people. It feels unbelievably intimate and connected as a firm for its size. The design process is very integrative and collaborative. I'm always encouraged to voice my thought, raise questions and experiment with ideas. We have lunch together at the office almost every day where fun, enlightening conversations happen. Every other Monday there is an office-wide lunch meeting where the major announcements in the office are made and ongoing projects in the office are presented. The office atmosphere is usually laid-back but there is always something fun going on at the office, whether if it's a happy hour to celebrate project completion or spontaneous yoga sessions at the meeting room. I had a great time running 2 5Ks and played a great season of bocce with the office last year. It's safe to say that we never run out of fun at the office!

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT?
There is a lot to share but the first thing – I miss living in New York City. Every day I am learning something new about architecture, art, and life by simply living here. It gives me a new perspective on the profession. It is such a rewarding experience and worth the additional time and effort.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I'm taking a trip to New Haven to visit Yale University. I have been wanting to visit the Kahn's buildings on the campus. There's also an exhibition that some of us from Professor Miro's Studio Mexico worked on last year so I'm excited to finally go see it. I'll also be meeting a great friend of mine from UT who just moved to the city to start his PRP as well. It's going to be an eventful weekend.

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you, PRP! Working at Snøhetta has been an incredible experience and I owe this experience to PRP!