P r o f e s s i o n a l s E m e r g i n g
Outstanding Intern Programs in Texas b y Re b e c c a B o l e s , AIA
work for ‘A Drop in the Bucket’ in the AIA Houston’s 2010 Sandcastle competition.
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Top photo courtesy FKP Architects; bottom photo courtesy English + Associates Architects
(top) FKP Architect’s emerging professionals entered ‘Boot Out Hunger’ in 2010 Canstruction Houston. (above) Interns with English + Associates Architects laid the ground-
Many discussions about the practice of architecture end with the conclusion that architectural interns aren’t what they used to be. Well, that’s true: some of today’s emerging professionals are better trained because of improvements to the AIA’s Intern Development Program (IDP). Since its start in 1976, the program has undergone meaningful changes that benefit interns and the firms that employ them. In addition, several architecture firms around the country have taken significant steps to improve their in-house programs for emerging professionals. Each year, the AIA awards the best of those programs. In 2010, three of the 10 firms recognized with IDP Outstanding Firm Awards were in Texas—English + Associates Architects, FKP Architects, and Parkhill, Smith & Cooper. These firms are varied in size. Houston-based English + Associates Architects, is an 18-person office; 10 of whom are on the IDP path. FKP, with offices in Houston and Dallas, has a total staff of 160, with 62 architects and 41 interns. Parkhill, Smith & Cooper (PSC), a 250-person multidisciplinary firm, employs 84 within the architectural divisions of its El Paso, Lubbock, and Midland offices. Twenty-one of the 84 PSC employees are interns. The Intern Development Program Advisory Committee (IDPAC) of the AIA expanded the awards program in 2008 to offer Firm Awards to those that demonstrate 12 essential criteria in five categories: mentoring, supervising, training opportunities, commitment to the IDP, and ARE support. Despite the size differences among the firms, all have adopted similar enhancements to boost intern participation in the IDP program. The following is a summary of their winning strategies in those five categories.