Stamped and Approved – The Adventure Begins!

As I write this blog entry I’m preparing to make the long journey over to Los Angeles, for what I’m sure will prove to be an invaluable and unforgettable experience.

Hi everyone, I’m Mitchell. After completing my Masters of Architecture and then working for a renowned Manchester-based UK practice, I’ve made the exciting decision to swap the doom and gloom of rainy Britain for the sunny blue skies of LA.

I’ve always had a strong interest in both American and particularly Los Angeles culture. One of the images that I remember seeing as a child that really began my interest into architecture was Shulman’s famous shot of Koenig’sStahl House’, perched in the Hollywood Hills, floating weightlessly above the city lights below. With my interest peaked, this led to me researching more about the case study house program and eventually to LA modernism and the evolutions that it had embarked on.

Throughout my studies we were always encouraged to travel, to look abroad, to develop an understanding of the contextual and the vernacular and to explore cross-pollination of creative ideas in this increasingly globalized world. By working in Los Angeles, I will gain an insight into different construction methods, a different context and environment, different climatic conditions, different planning and building regulations and a different clientele. All of which will hopefully help me to become a more developed architect in the future.

I was quite lucky in finding a job 5000 miles away from home, but this led me on to the next problem of what visa to get and how do I go about getting one? I was doing my own research when I stumbled across Architect-US advertised on Archdaily and began to look into the option of applying for a J1 visa. Architect-US were very swift and helpful in answering all of my queries and it soon became clear that this would be my best option.

The visa process itself went by very smoothly thanks to the supportive guidance of Isabel and before I knew it, I was heading to the US embassy in London for my visa interview! Before the interview, I had read horror reviews of people standing in line for hours upon hours, but I had the complete opposite experience. Following the useful advice of Architect-US, I arrived 30 minutes before my appointment time and within an hour I was back standing outside looking up at Kieran Timberlake’s unusual facade design for the Embassy having been told my passport would arrive within 3 working days, visa stamped and approved.

The adventure begins!

Mitchell Hattersley


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