PRP Now! Noah Winkler // Olson Kundig

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 Noah Winkler [M.Arch. '17] about his experience.

PRP: Tell us about your PRP firm. Where are you working?
I’m working at Olson Kundig in Seattle, WA. The office is about 150 people and 5 principals working out of a beautifully refurbished (by OK) old brick building in Pioneer Square, Seattle’s original neighborhood. The firm has made a name for itself designing residences but has been expanding comfortably into new scales and markets. (For a good range see Pike & Virginia, Tye River Cabin, and Shinsegae International)

PRP: Do you enjoy the city you’re working in? Favorite aspects?
I do very much. This city and Milwaukee, where I grew up, were both designed and planned by Olmsted. So I’ve found that I feel at home here on some very fairy-tale-ish level. There are mountains in every direction (unless that’s just some kinda Truman Show prank).

PRP: What is currently on your desk? What are you working on?
Right now my desk is mainly occupied by the baby-sized model I’ve been working on for the past week. That means corner piles of super glue, sign-pens, mechanical pencils, X-Acto’s, trace, three grits of sand paper, a brick from a site visit, welded steel from a fab shop tour, lots of model mock-ups, a bottle of sake, three bottles of black spray (mat, semi, gloss), a red-lined site plan, and notes for my intern presentation outline.

PRP: Describe the firm culture? The office atmosphere?
For this scale of office, OK does a ton to maintain an engaged, creative environment. We have guest lectures on Monday Mornings and project crits (usually in SD) on Thursday afternoons. And the intern program is incredibly organized, generous, and well-planned. We take field trips to see OK projects around the Northwest and have themed lunch meetings (reference material, portfolio review, Q+A with Kundig’s gizmo wizard, Phil). And the intern bay feels a lot like studio.

PRP: What is the first thing you'll tell your classmates upon your return to UT?
The Western Passage is a myth.

PRP: As you’re finishing up the week, what are your plans for this weekend?
I’ll probably walk ‘till i can’t feel my legs. I’ve got lots of exploring to do, the weather is supposed to be good, and the cherry blossoms just bloomed at the UW campus. (And I’ll definitely go eat some guts in Chinatown!)

PRP: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
In architecture, there is, for better or worse, a mental divide between academia and practice. If you plan to practice, work PRP into your curriculum and take your decision seriously. It’s a guarantee that you learn more in a semester working than in a semester at school. And go bold! UT students are well-qualified and respected in the field. Make a list of your dream firms AND THEN GO WORK FOR ONE!