The Studio 3: Our Profession is Crumbling Around Us

by Tim Alatorre

We are now on the official Cal Poly Architecture department webpage and we remember that the Burj Kalifa was “finished”.

Special guest Antonio Avila, B’Arch ’92 AIA LEED AP. an associate with Darden Architects, joins us for a great conversation about the recession, the journey of the emerging professional, and how Cal Poly prepares you for entering the work force.

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Rapid Fire Questions:

Tony scores: 412 points

Talking with Tony

  • Who is he?
    • Fresno native
    • Cal Poly striaght after HS, graduated in 1992.
    • Worked in San Francisco bay area
    • Moved back to Fresno to work at Darden Architects again
    • Got licence in 1996
  • Advice to Cal Poly students, Start taking your exams as soon as you can.
    • Cal Poly does a great job preparing students for the AREs
  • The people and being allowed to design has kept him with Darden Architects for over 15 years
  • We talk about some of the differences about working in a smaller versus a larger firm
    • While some small firms are closing their doors, others are busy, the type of work can help keep a firm busy
  • Thoughts on recent Cal Poly grads
    • The Cal Poly “learn-by-doing” approach is unique
    • Recently Cal Poly grads seem to be stronger in design while still maintaining the strong technical knowledge that the school is known for.
  • A small number of Architects actually design, so what else is there?
  • The people who succeed in Architecture have good people skills
    • You need to be comfortable talking with clients and understanding that clients are different
    • In school we are talking to our peers, in the real world it’s a different presentation and language
  • Is there something you wish you had done or known when you were still at Cal Poly?
    • Study Abroad for a year, go to Europe, you need to see those buildings up close and it’s much easier to travel when you’re a student, try to get exposure to another country and architecture elsewhere
    • Take advantage of the quarter Internships working at a firm to get work experience and credit
  • What kind of advice can you give to recent grads who are out of work?
    • If you haven’t been able to find a job in architecture just hang in there, things will pick up, people will be hiring at sometime in the future
    • Take this time to start your AREs, get LEED accredited, listen to theStudio!

About the Author

Tim Alatorre