talk about taking a break. my last post was back in october 07 – let’s see, what was life like back then? aside from my daughter not having been born yet, not all that much was different – of course, my daughter being born is all the difference it takes to go from day to night, black to white. two totally different worlds. life has been good since she was born in november – watching her grow everyday is pretty much all i care about at the moment.
i’ve finally gotten back into the swing of finishing some renovations on the house that i started before she was born – hopefully i’ll get them done in the next month so that i can move on to the next round of fixes: remove the crappy corrugated plastic overhang on the back porch and replace it w/ a trellis. i’ve also started the design for our landscaping, which won’t exactly be cheap, but is the first thing to do when increasing home value. major home renovation (aside from painting and installing wood floors) will have to wait.
i’m completing 100% construction documents for my current project this week. very exciting – i’ve been on the project since design development, though i’ve watched and sat on crits during schematic design. it’s a really nice and simple, small addition to a university building here in austin. next week i’ll move onto a new charter elementary school project, which will be really exciting. it’s set to be LEED silver, which means i finally will have the time to actually get LEED certified (which was on my to-do list since last september).
haven’t done much travel since the munchkin was born, aside from going up to dallas to visit w/ her grandparents. did go to houston one weekend for a friend’s wedding shower – it was pretty much my first time there, but only had time to visit the contemporary arts museum. great exhibit on…contemporary design. mies’ museum of fine arts was across the street, but you need more time to visit that. i’m excited to go back – some good architecture out there.
also went up to NY for the first part of passover – at 5 months old, it was munchkinface’s first flight. she did pretty well, but that was thanks to the tubes in her ears installed 2 wks prior – she already had 4 ear infections, so tubes were pretty much the only recourse aside from constant doses of antibiotics, which are not at all cool. she was a bit fussy in NY – i think the flight, plus change in scenery and new crib were a bit much. she got to meet some of her cousins and spend precious time w/ my parents and sister, which of course is the most important part of these visits. 2 days after we returned, my sister came to visit for 5 days – it was great.
ok, good update. back to work, and hopefully some more regular posts again.
don’t want to start a twitter account, it’s just one more account to maintain – but i do want that functionality. blogging will have to remain the method. weekend working: construction document set going out on monday, it’s our drop-dead date on this project that has been an extremely cool mess. the client is clueless, and this is not typical architectural disdain for a lesser mortal – this guy says one thing today, which is different from what he said yesterday and different from what he’ll say tomorrow and contradicts every email and documentation he’s ever sent. the budget gets cut back, and half our design will likely be VE’d out. anyway, our deadline has been moved back and back, and it can’t be pushed back any further. thank god. i have a baby coming in a few weeks and i need to finish working on the house! cindy has gone into nesting mode and is freaking that these things aren’t done, but i can’t do them until this deadline has passed.
fantastic – i just accepted an offer today with my top choice architecture firm here in austin. they extended the offer last week, and i was seriously contemplating the offer from my 2nd choice, but ultimately the quality of the outfit at firm#1 took the trump card. the design, engineering, and project goals are more in line with what i want to do and how i want to develop as an architect. they’re reorganizing the firm to have a more progressive design focus, and there is a major push on tech research, with relationships formed with MIT Media Lab and other outfits that i don’t yet know about. supposedly a laser cutter is in the pipeline. there is also a major focus on sustainability, which of course is extremely important to me, and my focus on sustainability likely gave me a big up in getting the job. the benefit package is really good, and they’re flexible on me taking time when my child comes into the world this november. 🙂 and not that it made a difference in my decision, but having our offices on the 22nd floor of a 23 floor bldg (one of the tallest in austin) with balconies doesn’t hurt either!
what a year it’s been, and not even half over yet! i got married in late december (i’m considering it part of this year for the sake of the major changes), have a selection of job offers from which to choose, my wife is moving to a new firm this summer, we’re looking to move into a new house by early fall, and we’re expecting our first child in november. i have to be thankful at a time like this b/c things are going so well. i hope they hold out like this for a long time.
i had another interview w/ my #2 choice, and it went pretty well. they do a lot of commercial work, but it was compelling. i’d be working on a pretty cool project, and there’s a lot of room for growth and initiative there. the downside of the commerical work is that turnaround times are faster and there’s less time or room for intense detailing. also, the commercial world hasn’t jumped full-on into the sustainable mindset, so it’s kind of hit/miss w/ how i might be able to design for a while. this firm wants my knowledge and push for sustainable design, though, so they’d be utilizing me to the fullest extent possible. my rapport w/ the principal was pretty good, and i felt very comfortable. i left feeling good about this place. the offer was lower than my first, but they offer overtime in addition to salary, which would put me above the $line of my first offer (based on a 40hr work week, i will obviously be working overtime). they were also very open to me taking time off for my first child’s birth in november (!!!) as well as working from home a few days a week.
i think overall that my #1 choice still holds the trump card. the work is more progressive and technologically driven. they’re looking a lot into how people use the building, incorporating cutting edge technology in ambient environments, and pushing sustainability as far as possible. i think what is holding me up is having a more definite idea of their work product and what my role will be. i also felt a little tense during our first interview, so i want to be sure that i get along well w/ the team. i called up and set up another interview for tomorrow. the principal i spoke to was very nice and accomodating.
i also forgot that i have another 2nd interview next week w/ a 3rd firm. i’ve already written them off as a #3, but still, the more offers on the table the better. i rescheduled w/ them for tomorrow as well. hopefully by the end of this week i’ll have made my decision about where i’ll be working – and then i will hold off until graduation before splurging on my self-congratulatory present: a nintento wii!!
sweet! the interview that i thought didn’t go so well apparently went well enough that they just extended me an offer! this is one of my top 2 choices, and i would be very excited to work with this firm. the work is super cool, the location is fantastic, the benefits (which i’m waiting on via email) sound great from the first description, they’re very accommodating for family time (important, as i’m going to be a daddy soon!), and the salary is in my ballpark, albeit on the lower end (still higher, though, than the average salary for recent architecture masters grad in austin). they’ve given me room to negotiate, though, so i should be able to get pretty much what i want. i contacted my other #1 choice, but they’re apparently unable to make any hiring decisions until august (the austin office is moving to a new location and is also dictated by the whims of the dallas office). they told me that i was at the top of their list, but that they’re pretty much stuck at the moment. it was a good open-ended conversation: they told me to keep them in mind if things change, and that they’d be interested if my plans change.
so essentially that leaves me w/ an interview tomorrow w/ my #2 choice (below the other 2 i just mentioned). i was very excited w/ my initial interview, but my second interview w/ this firm got screwed over twice w/o much contact from their end, so i’ve been a bit leary of whatever may happen w/ them. still, they seem to do good work and are expanding. we’ll see how tomorrow goes – but the most important thing is I’M FREAKIN PSYCHED!
the interview that i rocked the other day is leaving me kind of bummed. during the interview, my interviewer practically said he would be extending me an offer. today, though, at a networking event he talked about how my timeline (taking one month off after graduation to relax and get my travels and life in order) was too far out him, and that i should keep his firm in mind if things change or if i continue looking later. so that’s a bummer – i don’t think i should expect an offer from them so soon. it would be disingenuous of me to not give realistic expectations of my timeline, but at the same time, i think that i could have been vague about my start date for a little bit longer.
on the other hand, i had 3 interviews since friday, another one tomorrow, and i’m trying to get 2 more in the pipeline. of my 2 interviews yesterday, i really liked one of them, and my interview today i felt was a smashing success. i think that i might honestly prefer today’s firm out of all the ones i’ve interviewed w/ so far. really good vibe from the principal, and my sustainable design focus is serving me very, very well. my interview tomorrow seems exciting as well – i have a friend who works there and has talked it up. they are a small satellite office looking to grow, and the firm itself is international and 6000 people strong. let’s hope for good things tomorrow.