Archinect
anchor

making $300,000/year as an architect

midlander

yeah i'm essentially trolling with the title. interesting read about a real architect though.

https://www.businessinsider.com/wework-vp-lawsuit-discrimination-cultish-culture-2019-9

i have former colleagues working there and always looked with bemused concern at their constant flow of posts from lavish around-the-world get togethers. guess that's probably over soon. my apologies to the mods as this is likely to bring out demands for deletion!

 
Sep 27, 19 9:32 pm
OneLostArchitect

Can someone explain to me what WeWork is?

Sep 27, 19 9:36 pm
midlander

are you genuinely asking? it's a company that subleases large blocks of office space and renovates the interiors to be more trendy, then operates the business of renting out single desks and flexibly sized group workspaces, often to "members" who pay a monthly fee for access to desks and meeting rooms in multiple locations. the fundamental business is legitimate and useful; great for freelancers and startups who need a professional environment to work but can't commit to a long term lease. they just seem to spend an unnecessary amount of money on corporate perks. they've been in the news as they prepare for an ipo and the poor accountability of their management seems to be a problem for the valuation of the company.

OneLostArchitect

Oh so like a co op space. Don’t know why it’s talked about often on the forums like it’s an architecture office.

midlander

they have an unusually large in house team doing interior design fit outs and standards

The lavish salary and parties are just for show - like the rest of the “business” which is really just a vehicle for Neumann to accumulate vast wealth through real estate holdings he acquires with other people’s money (“investors”), doubled down with an IPO. 

That banks (read “investors”) are backing such criminal enterprises simply legitimizes them. Who cares as long as money can be made?

Queue up the libertarians .... promoting their own personal “freedom” regardless of the cost to others. Free markets rule!

Sep 28, 19 9:03 am
Volunteer

Adam Newmann, the long-hair t-shirt wearing "New Age" guru, has made $700,000,000 by selling his stock before the public stock offering which has been delayed (cancelled really) when his sleazy business practices came to light. The stock he sold to others is rapidly becoming worthless. SoFi bank, which financed the start-up, stands to lose a lot of money (billions?) as well. The only good thing is that the public will not lose money as the public offering is kaput. As an architect you would have to be unhinged to be an employee of these people. 

Sep 28, 19 9:59 am
joseffischer

Well, sounds like he was a Contractor really, had the arch credentials but had long ago left the arch world, and was managing construction for WeWork. As a 62 year old, getting $300,000 for a year of complaining that you're not working sounds like a great way to top off the retirement fund and call it quits early.

threeohdoor

Just to clarify, Softbank invested in WeWork (We Companies) via its Vision fund. Softbank has also invested in SoFi using the same vehicle. You are right about Neumann though, he's a sleaze and his business practices follow.

archanonymous

Alternate headline: Useless Senior pPMm from Gensler goes to WeWork, makes $300,000k in a year, files lawsuit because he got fired.




Boo-fucking-hoo.



Sep 28, 19 5:19 pm
Chad Miller

Aren't you just a jealous little brat.

thisisnotmyname

The guy should be glad he earned enough in salary to be able to sue. What he was subjected to is pretty much standard procedure in a sh*tty organization that decides to force out an older person.  I know of Gensler offices where this kind of sh*t goes on.   In most instances the victim doesn't have the money to pursue a legal case.

Chad Miller

Like I said, jealous little brat.

thisisnotmyname

No, not really. I am pretty worried this fellow is going to spend most of his money trying to sue WeWork, which has vastly more money than he does to spend on a large and top-notch legal team to fight his claim.

archanonymous

I assure you I am not jealous - it's hard to even comprehend of a lifestyle requiring $300k ... or one in which you are so insecure you have to sue after making $300k in one year. Dude had a good gig at a firm doing good work (and plenty of bad too) and he left for $$$... Fuck him, who cares.

archanonymous

Oh and probably got offered a fat severance. Yeah maybe he felt pushed out due to his age but my experience with gensler senior PM's (and former) is that they are good at golf, eyeballing young girls, and wasting billable hours.

Chad Miller

You post a lot about something you don't care about.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Chad Miller

Chad Miller

Damn right.

sameolddoctor

archanonymous, yes like you sound like a jealous little shit that has always worked on shitty little remodels all your life. Larger projects need architects like Gensler and their PMs. And for the record, 300k is a lot, but not unheard of in client positions.

archinine
Thanks for the chuckle archanon
Sep 30, 19 9:02 am
Bench

Interesting. I wonder what the effect is going to have on their design departments. Over the last 3 years WeWork has poached some massive talent from a variety of firms in NYC. I tend to view them the same as Midlander, fundamentally a good business idea that is well-executed (if you've ever worked at one of their spaces), however all the extra-curriculars that Miles notes really sours the taste.

Sep 30, 19 10:17 am
threeohdoor

I've never really understood why WeWork would require such a massive design team. It's designs are copy/paste from a particular aesthetic that has been jammed into place over the years. Do the test-fit, throw some RH furniture and lighting into the common space, pick a carpet tile and wallpaper, back up truck for the glass partitions and 4x2 desk, and bam! a WeWork space.

Bench

It seems that they run a fairly extensive research lab arm dedicated to advanced computational design methods for getting the most efficient floorplates possible. At least that was my understanding of it.

thisisnotmyname

WeWork bought CASE, which was a pretty legit outfit. It looks like WeWork was trying to also trying to optimize the build-out process with advanced site measuring and direct-to-fabrication workflows. In my opinion, the thrift store design aesthetics of a WeWork space did little to illuminate or celebrate whatever innovative technologies were being used to realize the projects.

threeohdoor

Yea, I'd be interested to see the marginal benefit of computational design and laser-survey-to-revit-model flow. Architecture and interior fit outs don't occur at nearly the scale necessary to properly benefit from digitization and automation. It would be one thing if they had a stack of 1000s of potential properties and needed to suss things out in a few seconds. But that's just not the case. Gains in time for an automated design pale in comparison with the time lost during construction (general statement). Moreover, as anyone who has done a renovation in a big city like NYC, unforeseen circumstances pop up all the time and it's these sorts of interruptions that kill automating processes. Good for them, I guess, for throwing money into a pit, but I'm not buying.

thisisnotmyname

I think the advanced techniques served to create some of the appearance of innovation and disruption that was needed to perpetuate the WeWork media frenzy and ever-increasing business valuations. WeWork is just a Regus or any other shared-space company dressed up with a few innovations and a whole lot of bullsh*t.

midlander

i agree with thisisnoyname, i think a lot of the design management focus on computational design etc was just part of supporting the story that wework is a tech company and deserved to be valued as such. much easier to sell to big investors if you can say you need money to invest in developing a new use of technology that transforms your industry rather than saying "we need more money to grow because we charge below cost for our services". that latter statement is probably closer to the truth here.

Bench

I still find it bizarre that they charge below cost for their services though. The ones I have visited and the friends I've spoken with who have paid for their dedicated desks didn't seem exactly like a 'budget' option ... it would be much cheaper to rent a bigger apartment that has a second bedroom/office (though I realize that's not ideal for all freelancers, etc.).Does that mean the whole business model doesn't actually work, IE their high costs are still not enough to break even overall ?

thisisnotmyname

The idea seemed to be to follow the Amazon model, where a well-financed business sells products at a loss for a few years in order to kill off competitors and end up with market dominance. Once dominant, they could then raise prices and pressure their vendors get revenue to be more in line with expenses.

That said, shared office space is very much a commodity product and it's not convincing to many that WeWork ever had much chance of dominating their business line in the way that some retail and tech giants do.

threeohdoor

This is precisely what is going on. It would be one thing if they were losing money as they were expanding. However, they are losing money at a per unit level, and their growth has not included any benefits of scale, or networking effects. Combined with mismatched asset/liability terms (buyer of long term leases, seller of short term leases), this makes for a company that is not economically viable, unless they can use hype and platitudes to entice investment capital. They ran out of useful idiots...

archinine
Thisisnotmyname hit the nail on the head. Regis and others have been providing these type of spaces for years. There’s nothing to ‘disrupt’. It’s niche market and always will be. Construction is expensive. Work inside of existing buildings will ALWAYS have unforeseen circumstances, as well as wild variations in complex code, various exceptions (talking nyc especially - think 1938 vs 68 vs current). Automation is all but useless in most cases. Let us also not forget wework has yet to turn an actual profit and likely will not be doing so based on all the recent media that has shed some light on the company’s internal practices.
Oct 1, 19 11:55 am
sameolddoctor
Better not to be like “old fart architects”, but to see some of the reasons how WeWork planned to use technology for its real estate offerings. And for the record, I know some people who have wework accounts, but they couldn’t give a rats ass about technology used to create those spaces.

https://www.wired.com/2016/03/weworks-radical-plan-remake-real-estate-code/

Also, for the record, Regus kinda sucks, and I’m also an old fart architect.
Oct 3, 19 9:51 am
archinine
The information derived from BIM is only as useful as the weakest link (user). eg data needs to be clean, every user along the way needs to input clearly in an agreed upon organized format, and the amount available needs to be rather massive (big data vs micro data) to provide any marginal gains in terms of insights to potentially mitigating losses. IF and that’s a huge IF, wework has legitimately been meticulously monitoring the ongoing repair/maintenance of each and every bit and bob in every space it outfits then *maybe* they could save a few dollars with BIM. Doubtful though, considering how disorganized the company appears to be re: all the media insights. BIM in this context is likely just as any other in our field, a pie in the sky buzz word that glosses over the very real limitations of the data that are rooted in 1 user input/organization and 2 statistically insignificant sample sizes which limit any real analysis. The real gains by wework is the laser scanning, and the real gain of BIM (at this point in time) is coordination. We are still very far from harnessing the power of VDC at the contractor phase. Engineers can barely model in 3D at this point. Much less to a level accurate enough for takeoffs.
Oct 3, 19 3:30 pm

Excellent post.

sameolddoctor
I dunno, archinine, the CASE guys are very smart. I’d not throw out the baby with the bathwater, maybe something good will come out of this.
Oct 4, 19 1:59 am
thisisnotmyname

I agree, the former CASE group would be a good spin-off entity. I never thought their linkup with WeWork made much sense other than the money to be made by selling the business. Hopefully the CASE ownership sold the place for cash and not promised WeWork stock options.

I'm just now realizing after doing a bit of googling that the CASE (Case, Inc.) involved with WeWork is not the same CASE (Center for Architecture Science and Ecology) associated with RPI and SOM. What was Case Inc. doing that was so novel?

Volunteer

The OP's would-be stock options would be worthless in any event because of the steep falloff in price of the stock. He is fortunate to get laid off ahead of the curve, so to speak. He screwed the pooch when he left Gensler. Hopefully he can find something else as the economy is still doing well. Litigating the situation will only give him a 'do not hire' reputation. Forget it and move on. 

Oct 4, 19 12:47 pm
thisisnotmyname

Gensler has a tradition called "boomerang" of rehiring people that leave and come back later. The ex-WeWork guy should just go get his old job back. Gensler's current work equals or exceeds WeWork when it comes to designing ugly open office spaces with some insipid "fun" furniture and bric-a-brac in the lobby and breakout areas.

archinine
For those asking, CASE provides a plug-in for revit which automates repetitive tasks. eg door and sheet renumbering, export/sync schedules to excel. The plugin was free (I think it still is). Pretty much everything in their suite can be written in dynamo but it’s nice to have a button on the ribbon for more mid level / entry level users who aren’t comfortable with programming scripts. Also dynamo updates so frequently that one often has to rewrite most of the script because the modules become unusable, doubly so for revit yearly releases. In the past, CASE also wrote custom scripts for various architecture firms, I believe those firms included, but are not limited to, HOK, SHoP and Grimshaw. Regardless of how clever the makers of CASE may be, I still point back to my original post about the weakest link when it comes to BIM + WeWork.

It’s also worth noting the people on this thread/forum who seem most convinced BIM will save the world/reinvent architecture as we know it, are, just like the higher ups in the firms I’ve worked in, least familiar with how the software actually works...very similar to tech VCs being convinced that ‘disruption’ and ‘blockchain’ (which they also don’t understand, respectively) are going to reinvent the wheel. The wheel exists and can be improved for sure, but improving something that is actively already being used and is more less functioning in a similar manner is it has for millennia, is a slow process. Believe me I’m first in line to utilize all BIM has to offer but we’re not very far along as a collective industry.

Let us not forget BIM has existed for nearly 3 decades and STILL as an industry we are only at the point of scratching the surface in terms of what is possible.

If you’re curious my ‘authority’ on this, I’ve been BIMing for 15+ years and autocadding for 20+. I’ve been hand sketching for 25+ and to this day I often send hand sketches to GCs because in certain instances that’s the fastest and most economical way to keep a job moving. BIM is a tool, just like the pencil. It’s up to the collective group of users to make it useful.
Oct 5, 19 11:08 am
midlander

totally agree on this - the most enthusiastic BIM promoters were those who were either too junior to understand the whole business of architecture, or too senior to understand what bim software actually does. i've spent a lot of time in conference calls with senior vp's telling us to use our "collective knowledge" of bim to transform our design firm into an asset management consultancy...

archinine
Also for the record I consider this to be a fun conversation. Thank you for coming to my archinerd TED talk.
Oct 5, 19 11:11 am
Happy Anarchy

I called the collapse over a year ago...

Regus with a keg and a nintendo...swindled by a Neuman...

but hey

https://www.propublica.org/art...

Oct 6, 19 1:58 am

“One thing that jumped out at people - Adam Neumann had borrowed millions of dollars from WeWork, gone out and bought office buildings and then turned around and then rented those buildings back to WeWork. Maybe the most amazing detail in the S-1 comes on Page 199, where we learn that Adam Neumann trademarked the word we then decided to change his company's name to We and made the company - his company - pay him $5.9 million in stock for the rights to the name We. So that's all in the S-1.”


https://www.npr.org/2019/10/04/767379358/episode-943-unicorn-cowboy


Interesting podcast on how big money started coming to startups and why, with some little tidbits like the quote above about WeWork in particular. 

Oct 6, 19 11:11 am

In any civilized society this would be known as swindling. In the US it is known as entrepreneurship.

midlander

this is the trickledown effect. a pool of billionaires begets another. reagan wins!

Volunteer

Adam Newmann, the long-haired New Age guru that walked around Manhattan barefoot was the millennial 'woke' generation personified. His wife was the woke cousin of woke Gwyneth Paltrow, how dreamy is that? Of course Adam took self-dealing to a new and exciting level. 

 Estimates are that up tp 1,500 people will be laid off in a desperate attempt to stave off bankruptcy. It won't work and the rest will be out of work soon. 

Oct 7, 19 11:47 am

They already laid off 30 and shut down the Cities by We division last week; https://twitter.com/tranopticon/status/1180203317898747905

GridBubbles

It is only a matter of time until the house of cards comes crashing down. Time for unicorn companies that don't make a dime in profit to collapse under the looming recession. From their shady business practices, to bizarre "woke" culture, everything about WeWork screams a scam.

Chad Miller

You're rather doom and gloom about an up coming recession. Care to share the reasons for your certainty about a looming recession?

Dangermouse

architecture billings at their lowest levels since 2012, substantial layoffs in the financial sector, automakers massively overcapacity relative to demand (as much as 20% in nissan's case), crash out brexit esp. with EU trashing boris' latest 'effort'...

Dangermouse

we work will almost assuredly kill softbanks vision fund, they're essentially worth 0 with 37 billion in lease liabilities. what happens when the largest commercial lessor in NYC and Chicago goes tits up? we're about to find out....

GridBubbles

@Chad Miller - do you just spend your time trolling other people's comment? How much do you get paid to do that? Must be a rewarding career you have given your comment history. My original comment doesn't even imply certainty, not sure how you can interpret that. Read up the definition of looming.

GridBubbles

@Dangermouse - putting on my tinfoil hat here, do you think SoftBank's latest ousting of Neuman and the rush for IPO is their way of cashing out? I mean only time will tell if they do IPO and start offloading their shares by the truck load.

I mean seriously, Neuman's business practices are riddled with  nepotism and conflicts of interest.

Chad Miller

It was a serious question Bubbles.

archinine
Wework is hardly important enough in the grand scheme to singlehandedly cause a nation wide recession...
Oct 7, 19 11:36 pm

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