In a globalized market, it is increasingly important for design firms to have the contacts, skills, and cultural sensitivity to work across borders. Architect-U.S., a new international training program, was conceived as a liaison between rising global architectural talents and U.S.-based firms. The program sponsors highly qualified bi/multilingual international architects and engineers to work in the U.S. as part of the U.S. Government J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, with young professionals eager to participate from Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. The program offers U.S. firms a valuable resource to connect and deepen ties with designers in emerging and established markets.
Architect-U.S. provides structured, on-site training for up to 18 months. Candidates aged 20-35 are selected through an intensive process that evaluates portfolios, communication skills, academic backgrounds, and fundamental compatibility with participating host firms. The organization offers a global architectural perspective available to hosts by providing access to top-notch international talents.
“We started the program with the support of the Spanish government because we recognized a real need to help make these connections possible. We immediately realized that the demand and opportunities went far beyond Spain," Carla Prada, co-founder of Architect-U.S. explained. "Architect-U.S. is unique because we will vet the candidates vigorously to ensure successful matches and future collaborations that are win-win for all.”
Architect-U.S. will officially launch at the AIA-NY Center for Architecture at an event on June 25 from 6-9 p.m. The event, entitled Emerging Talent Models of International Practice: Flourishing Spanish Architecture, will feature a panel discussion on the benefits of hosting international trainees. Participants include industry like Claire Weilsz (WXY principal), Jorge Mastropietro (JMAPC principal), Gustavo Rodriguez (FXFowle principal), Carol Shappiro (BWAF director), and Kenneth Drucker (HOK design principal).
“In Europe, there are different issues of scale, urban design and architectural technologies. Trading that information is a great opportunity for HOK-- both sides of this process can learn from each other. Creating a culture of communication between different countries allows us to create global experiences and global opportunities," said Drucker, one of Architect-U.S.’s first U.S.-based hosts. "We’ve already had one successful trainee and are ready to open our doors to other talents.”
Another Architect-U.S. supporter is English architectural icon Sir Peter Cook. “I find that in recent years, particularly speaking from London, we are dependent upon the cross-fertilization of our own cultural stream. We’ve become more global," he said. "I think any office in England with only English people would not be really reflective of the cultures we exist within.”
Beyond an educational training service, yhe Architect-U.S. Program offers host companies the ability to promote diversity and expand business opportunities. These new international relationships will establish the need for platforms that encourage cross-pollination and global dialogues in architecture.
“I can speak from personal experience about talent migration," said Patricia Garcia, design architect. "Early in my career, I was given the chance to work at prestigious firms like James Carpenter Design Associates by participating in a U.S. government-sponsored program as a professional trainee from Madrid. This great outreach opportunity opened up so many new doors for me.”