This week on the blog we wanted to recap our first mentoring session in our “Architect Up! Life Hacks for Architects” series. We had the opportunity to tour the WeWork and WeLive spaces in Crystal City which showcase the concepts of communal working and living. The WeLive space is one of two that currently exists in the country.
Following the tour we sat down to discuss how these new concepts of work/life balance have impacted productivity and what it means for the design of office spaces. The community manager Alissa Avilov and architect Vinson Camacho weighed in based on their experiences with the programs.
Next up in the series we will be discussing how to harness the power of social media and branding. Register for the second session here.
In anticipation of our upcoming mentoring session at WeWork Crystal City, we asked the community manager Alissa Avilov a few questions about the atmosphere and how she achieves balance between work and life.
1. You are Community Manager at WeWork/WeLive, and also live in the community. For those unfamiliar with the concept, what is your elevator pitch for WeWork/WeLive, in fifty words or less?
WeWork/WeLive is a space that is all about fostering community and collaboration through programming and design. We have offices or apartments combined with communal spaces like pantries, conference rooms, media lounges, chefs kitchens, libraries and yoga studios.
2. This mentoring workshop is focused on work/life balance, a concept architects have been known to struggle with, both in academia and in the profession. What tips do you have for maintaining a healthy balance between one’s work life and one’s home life?
Taking time to do things that will clear your mind – for me that is cooking or taking a walk outside. Also, I’ve learned to be ok with leaving work with a to do list. At first this was a challenge, but I had to realize that I just can’t always get everything done. Accepting this did wonders for me being able to enjoy life when I was not at work (but I still check my phone a lot).
3. By putting one’s workplace and their living space in one building, the WeWork/WeLive model uses the built environment to blur the physical boundary that typically exists between our work lives and our home lives. From a time management standpoint, what are the advantages and disadvantages of living where you work?
The blessing/curse is the commute. Yes, you are saving time but you are also missing out on things like sunlight, me time, and feeling like you are leaving your house and coming to work. What I love is that I can have a long night at work and take 4 seconds to get home, this is really convenient. For me, thinking about things like packing a lunch before coming to work help me manage my time more effectively, but that might not be the case for others.
4. WeWork/WeLive also uses the built environment to encourage interaction via shared spaces: communal kitchens, lounge areas, and workspaces where you may work alongside people in completely unrelated fields. This is also a concept being rolled out in open office settings, including many architecture firms. Overall, what type of feedback has this “unsiloing” yielded at WeWork/WeLive?
This is what we are all about. I think it’s especially interesting with WeLive because we’ve shifted so far away from this in our tech fueled lives. To encourage people to look up from their phones and say hi to a neighbor, or come to a wine tasting with people they don’t know in their building, has actually yielded pretty special results. People are often hesitant when they move in, and then they end up connecting with others and being grateful for the space.
5. Final question, for the architects in attendance: what is the one design takeaway from the WeWork/WeLive community you would like to see used more widely in workplace or residential design?
The open design that allows people to flow through the space without ever having to run into an awkward corner or anything like that.
For more info on the WeWork community, come check out the tour this Tuesday the 25th at the Crystal City location!
This month begins the mentoring workshop series and our theme for 2017 is Life Hacks for Architects! The goal is to highlight specific skills/topics to help provide attendees with the tools to be an even better professional. The series is shaping up to be really interesting and our first event will be a tour of the WeWork space in Crystal City followed by a round table discussion on work/life balance. Make sure to register here!
2. For all the INTJs that love reading about personality types
3. If you want to become a better leader in the profession:
Applications are live for the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program! This is a program founded by a few EAC members in honor of Christopher Kelley, an influential emerging architect from our chapter. Details about the program can be found on the website and on June 5th there will be an info session on the application process!
4. In case you’re negotiating your raise this week and need a power pose
5. Because your LEED credential is about to expire
This website is a great, free resource for CE credits that apply for both AIA HSW and LEED!
So, you’re heading to Orlando next week for the newly rebranded AIA Conference and figure maybe you should try to get the most out of the trip professionally and not just take advantage of a springtime trip to Florida. Well, if you’re a first timer – or a conference vet looking for a few new tips – check out our suggestions below!
1. Sign up for your seminars early.
Back in the day, you used to be able to get away with showing up the first day of the conventionconference, flipping through the guide, and popping in and out of sessions like a teenager turning a single movie ticket into a theater-hopping marathon. Nowadays, though, you need to come with a plan. Why is that? Well, for one reason, because you sort of have to or you can’t actually get into the sessions (at least not if you want the associated CEUs). More importantly, there is way too much to try and figure out on the fly. With over 500 seminars, tours, events, and workshops, it’s simply too big to try and get away without a little up front planning. Trust me on this one; take a little time and figure out where you’re going to be heading.
2. Also, diversify your schedule.
Speaking of all those choices – try not to pick three days’ worth of just [insert literally any topic here]. Just because your firm works on mixed-use urban development projects, don’t think you’re doing them – or yourself – any favors by soaking up 24 hours of just that topic. Seriously, take the opportunity to engage in something new. There are so many different speakers to hear discussing emerging technologies, starting your own firm, healthcare design, accessibility concerns, sustainable design, mentorship… I could keep going, but you get the point. I’m not saying don’t sign up for sessions that directly relate to what you’re doing today – that would just be silly. But think about what will relate to what you’re doing tomorrow and further down the road.
3. Download the Conference App. And use it!
If you didn’t know, AIA has an app that you can download that will sync with your schedule, give you vendor locations at the expo, and even allow you to chat real time with presenters during the sessions. This is probably my favorite evolution from the first convention I went to back in 2006 – makes your life much much easier as you’re wandering around the convention center trying to figure out where your next session is. The website doesn’t appear to have an updated link yet, but I already found it on Google Play with my sessions synced!
4. Go to the Emerging Professionals Party!
Thursday night for $30 – the food, drink, and networking is most definitely worth the price of admission! Seriously this is a great event, so grab a friend and go make some new ones! Speaking of…
5. Do some legitimate networking.
Yes, it’s always more comfortable to stick around your group of friends or coworkers – especially at an event that draws thousands of students, architects and exhibitors. But, if you’re not making an effort to talk to new people at your seminars and expand your network then you’re missing out on one of the biggest benefits of attending the conference. Granted, you may not see the person sitting next to you in a lecture at any other point during the conference – then again, they could be your next boss, partner, or client. You have no way of knowing for sure, so why take the chance? Make an effort to get outside your comfort zone and meet someone new.
BONUS: Check out the Expo, but be smart about it!
At my first AIA convention I made the rookie mistake of picking up every piece of literature at the Expo and nearly had to buy another piece of luggage to get it all home – where it sat at my desk until I cleaned house the following spring. Don’t do that. Engage with the exhibitors and leave your card if you really do want to follow up with someone, but do yourself a favor and leave all the papers and trinkets where they lay. We’re in a digital age where you can sign up for emails or visit websites that have whatever information you want. There is literally no reason to get hard copies of anything, and I’m willing to bet you don’t need another canvass tote or foam stress ball with a logo blazoned on it. Just don’t do it!
The third lecture in the Architecture Uncensored series is coming up on Tuesday April 25th! Hosted by RTKL, start time at 6:30 PM. We’re looking forward to rounding out the series with an energetic discussion on how the public perceives the role of the architect. This should be an interesting one so make sure to register here!
3. If you still tell your coworkers about your thesis project:
Registration is live for the 2017 Thesis Showcase! If you have an accredited architecture degree, graduated in 2015 or after, and did a thesis project then you are able to apply. Submissions are due by June 15th, 2015!
5. Because recently politics has you a little concerned about the economy:
The National Design Services Act Survey was created to help gather data on the amount of outstanding student debt in the profession in an effort to boost support in Congress. It’s quick and you can feel good about your advocacy resolutions!
Next month we are organizing an event to help demystify putting together the best job package possible. We sat down with Rob Holzbach, the Director of Staff Operations and an Associate Principal at Hickok Cole, to talk about recommendations, tips, and tricks as a preview of what to expect.
1. Make the work samples stand out
Often as an entry level hire you will be asked to do a lot of production work. Your work sample highlights your ability to create high quality renderings and drawings and the graphics of this are important. You want this to highlight your software skills and demonstrate your eye for design. This can help to make up for a lack of relevant job experience. Rather than including full sheets from a CD set, integrate details into the graphics of your work sample. You want these pages to be easy to navigate and eye catching.
2. Make the hiring person’s job as easy as possible
These people are busy so it’s important to make information easy to find. Your resume should highlight any relevant job experience or internships. That information should be visible at first glance.
3. Utilize your network
This can be difficult as a recent graduate, but it’s pivotal to being able to get your foot in the door. Thanks to websites like Linked In, this has become much easier. Reach out to professors who might have connections and utilize your alumni network. Attend EAC events!
4. Double check for spelling errors
Seriously. You’re often reviewing these things so many times it becomes difficult to see them. Have a friend proof read it for you. More egregious than spelling errors are misspelling of a firm or a person’s name. The more you can connect with the person reading your application, the better.
5. Over done is just as bad as under done
You want to make sure everything is concise and clean. Graphically interesting is good, but illegible and busy is bad. Remember that you will not have control over how your job package will be printed when it’s delivered electronically. Things that are oddly shaped (larger or smaller than 8.5″x 11″) often become difficult to file or review and will end up getting printed on regular paper anyhow. An interesting portfolio should be saved for the interview.
Rob will be going into more detail and showing examples of good and bad practices at the workshop. That will be followed by a series of small group crits by local practitioners. This is a great way to get a jump start on your job search and make some connections to work on point number 3! Make sure to register for the full event here.
The second lecture in the Architecture Uncensored series is coming up on Tuesday March 28th! Hosted by RTKL, start time at 6:30 PM. The first session had really exciting conversation and was, in a word, energizing! This one will focus on how the client perceives the role of an architect with a panel including an architectural marketing expert, DC developers, and a client focused project manager. We had entirely too much alcohol left over though, so make sure to register for this one!
2. If the thought of calculating a point load makes you sweat:
AIA NOVA is hosting David Thaddeus to help prepare you for the structures portion of the ARE. As a graduate of the program, I can say with confidence that it is the best way to crash course structures available. Check out the details here.
We’re hosting a workshop on April 8th focusing on creating an eye catching resume and portfolio. Rob Holzbach of Hickok Cole Architects will discuss what makes a successful job package. Following his presentation there will be a series of small group critiques by local practitioners. For more information and to register click here.
5. In case you need motivation to spell check your drawings one more time
The first lecture in the Architecture Uncensored series is coming up on Tuesday the 28th! RTKL will be hosting again this year, start time at 6:30 PM. We blogged about it last Friday, check that out for more info on the theme. Just in case you didn’t jump on registration yet, do that here.
2. To get those AXP observation hours:
The National Building Museum hosts construction tours and they are discounted if you are a member! They have two tours coming up the next two Saturdays. Details here and here.
Architecture Uncensored is one of the most thought-provoking events the EAC organizes. Each year has a new theme, exploring topics that no one really discusses openly at work. Our discussions have been known to spur some gentle debate, but are always highly productive and very educational. The panel setup really encourages architects (and others!) to think about important issues from multiple perspectives.
This year, given the ever-evolving role of the profession with titles ranging from “master-builder” to “thought leader”, we are exploring what it means to be an architect in current times through the eyes of three groups: Architect / Client / Public. The theme: “What the *bleep* is an Architect?!” (Ironically, the title of Architecture Uncensored this year is, in fact, censored.. we can’t just say these things).
Our first discussion coming up on February 28th is called “What the *bleep* is an Architect?! In the Eyes of an Architect?” While planning, we thought finding panelists for this would be the easiest because “Hey, we know a lot of architects!”. The reality is it’s extremely difficult to determine what an architect IS because there are so many options. Architects really do SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS. The goal of this first lecture is to try and define what it is that we DO. Selecting architects from firms throughout the area as well as the academic world should give us a great conversation and kick-off to the series.
I always leave these panel discussions feeling renewed and refreshed – they really confirm why I got into architecture and just how passionate our colleagues are about people and the environments we design. We’re pumped to have great panelists locked down for the first session and we’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Mark your calendars with the dates!
• February 28 : “What the *bleep* is an Architect?! In the Eyes of an Architect?”
• March 28 : “What the *bleep* is an Architect?! In the Eyes of an Client?”
• April 25 : “What the *bleep* is an Architect?! In the Eyes of the Public?”