What is the Value of an Internship?

Sam Lubell pens an opinion piece for The Architect's Newspaper examining the ethical and cultural implications of unpaid internships in the architecture profession.

Seeing unpaid (and underpaid) internships, which have become a "right of passage," as a catch-22, Lubell evaluates the positive and negative aspects of what has "become a staple of architecture."

Lubell sees the widespread practice as aiding in lowering the value of architecture altogether. "It's just the tip of the iceberg in a profession that seems intent on continuously lowering the bar, from allowing others to call themselves architects to loosening requirements on the need for registered architects..."

"Architect Alvin Huang of LA firm Synthesis explained how not paying young architects feeds an ongoing cycle: 'We'll draw it and revise a thousand times because it is part of our process. And part of our process is enabled by exploitation. It becomes a cyclical burden that is packaged as a rite of passage, and that institutionalizes exploitation in the culture of design.' He added, 'I think there is a clear metaphor that relates to figuratively living beyond your means.'"

Kevin Fitzgerald, director of the AIA's Center for Emerging Professionals, suggests that earning college credit in exchange for internship duties can be an ethical way to compensate interns for their work.

Disclosure: Planetizen offers limited-term unpaid editorial internship positions and prefers candidates who receive college credit in exchange for their service.

Full Story: Editorial> The Intern Catch-22
Tags: 

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95