Summer 2005. I moved to New York without an apartment or a job. I stayed in the living room of my sister and husband's East Village apartment for a while and finally found a sublet in Brooklyn at S 3rd St and Hooper (with a painter friend I had met at RISD Pre-College four years before), where band VietNam seemed to be squatting. For days, maybe weeks, I sat at the kitchen table replying to Craigslist postings. Arakawa + Gins was looking for an assistant of some kind. I got in contact with Madeline Gins and managed to get an interview. I saw on their web site that they had decided not to die. "Architecture against death." I remember arriving at the office on Houston Street in a sweat. I remember being very, very nervous, as if I were in the company of the queen (of immortality, I suppose). Everything I said sounded foolish.
She sat at a long table covered in papers while one of her employees tested my architectural graphic skills. And that was it. I waited and waited to hear from her and eventually was told I had, more or less, failed the test. After some more time at my kitchen table, brief stints at The Architect's Newspaper's old office on Lispenard and "Asian pub" near Cooper Union, I found a paid internship at a small architecture firm in Brooklyn.
Three years later, there's an article about this kooky woman in The New York Times. Watch this.