Sad state of affairs at P+W


Another major lay-off at Perkins + Will. Seems like they are sucking wind big time. Basically the CEO Phil Harrison said in his webcast that the corporate management had "misjudged" the market conditions. Hmmm...looks like the problem may be corporate management.

Feb 20, 13 1:07 am

Tough times all around. Do you know which offices were affected?

Feb 20, 13 2:36 am

Perkins and Will is indeed having major managment issues and have been laying people off for the last three years - as well as hiring.  A friend of mine was 100% billable and was still laid off in their san fran office.  They are facing the same disaster AECOM was/is facing.

Feb 20, 13 12:22 pm

who cares about P+W... shitty firm anyway... 

Feb 20, 13 12:40 pm

No it's not.

Feb 20, 13 1:03 pm

P+W is an architecture whore. 

Feb 20, 13 1:44 pm

Funny how people try to chastise firms as "architecture whores" and then be the first to heap and grovel at their feet when those same firms are the only ones hiring. 

It happened a lot when I was at AECOM a few years back.  While all the  "non-whore" architecture firms were laying people off, only us and a few other firms were hiring people.  P+W defnitely did better work than us.  I had a few friends who once thought the same way while in school and then wanted a job.  Funny how that happens.

Mercifully, when all of us are that young and inexperienced, we tend to think like this.

Feb 20, 13 1:52 pm

I remember - I taught someone Revit so he could perform the job P+W hired him to do - said he would refer me once he got aboard - he pulled the ladder up after himself - "you go to their website" Rule 1 - He showed his true colors

Feb 20, 13 2:18 pm

Actually- it is possible to not want to work at a particular firm even if it was the only one hiring... I had a bad experience with a big firm that did similar work. I did some research, and many people told me that its not just about finding any job... you also have to want to fit in. I quit my job because the work I was doing was meaningless and not gratifying or enriching. I am not saying that work will always be fun, easy, and exciting, but doing roll-out projects and big box retail stores (prototypical projects) was the bottom of the bottom for me. I felt it was a dead end with no way for me to build my skills and portfolio. I therefore condemn firms practices like that because architects shouldn't be hiring architects to that kind of work... hire business administration people and some draftsmen overseen by architects... 

As an aspiring architect, I want to be challenged by solving problems- not just being a CAD monkey... 

Feb 20, 13 3:00 pm

Another major lay-off at Perkins + Will.

In the jobs section on here they just posted an ad?

Feb 20, 13 3:10 pm

BulgerBlogger, you have a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, to learn.  I think you know this.

There is so much wrong with what you just said that it's kinda sad...

1.  I am glad you are one of the privileged few who can just quit a job because "it isn't meaningful and fullfilling."  For a vast majority of us, architecture is how we make a living and support ourselves and our families.  Stop being a brat and realize that we all pay our dues - now back to your stair and bathroom details.

2.  If you think your one "bad experience" with the big firm ends at a firm because of it's size, as I stated you have a lot to learn.

3.  Wait, P+W does "Big Box Retail stores" ?  How come none of us knew anything about this?  You realize that many smaller firms do this kind of work right?

4.  Wait, so let me see if i understand this correctly.....You "condemn" firms because of the type of work they pursue?  I think you need to understand that many of those same firms could give a tuppenny-fuck less abut you or your little condemnation.  Just trying to clue you in.  P+W in my experience has been a good resume builder for many people who wan to be true designers.

5.  About Being a CAD monkey.....Wait so you are just out of school and you expect to be designing the Vitre Fire Station, the Louvre, and the Freedom Tower?  Back to your CAD station son - you haven't proven shit to anyone.

Again, a lot to learn.

Feb 20, 13 3:51 pm

You know med.: perhaps you are right... I took out my frustration irresponsibly and made a  very bad mistake about the nature of the firm's work. I actually mistook it for another that kept on popping up as my former firm's chief competitor. That being said, I would like to rephrase and clarify my comment and position on the above. 

I currently work two jobs. Its not the ideal situation, but I make it work in order to do the things I want with myself and my family, such as owning a home and going on vacation. I respect and value every cent I make, especially in this bad economy. But here's the difference between people like me and people like you: As much as I still have to learn and grow as an architect, I have begun shaping an understanding of what I want to accomplish with my profession, what I want to do, and how I want to accomplish it. This value system might not coincide with everyone else's, but I do feel strongly about it. In short, I think a lot of people just take anything they can get and in the process fail to develop a professional identity. On the other end, some people get too comfortable with where they are and never grow beyond that. I see that as lazy, ignorant, and financially completely irresponsible. Being a project manager for 30 years and not getting licensed is by far one of the biggest wastes of time. And this is the story of many many people. Only 20% of all architecture students who graduate get their license... But this is a separate issue. I am almost finished with IDP and started taking my licensing exams. I think something needs to be said for that considering the fact that I am only 25. 

Feb 20, 13 4:21 pm

the term CAD monkey keeps being thrown around.. Truth is many suck at doing anything else but just fail to realize that.  Need to suck up their ego because none of what they design is actually worthy of being built.

Feb 20, 13 4:34 pm

let's not say we "pay our dues."  that implies we owe something to someone other than ourselves.  we don't.  i don't see any reason to "pay dues" unless i have an enforceable contract clearly stating what i get in return for those dues.  quid pro quo.

older generations learned how to design and how buildings go together because their older generations taught them.  that's just how it works.  so let's start saying "pay it forward" instead of "pay your dues."  older generations who learned stuff when they were younger owe younger people today the time and respect they received.  sure, bathroom details and stair rails need to be drawn, but that isn't "paying dues," it's work.  and for most of us, work is just what we do for a living, and there's nothing wrong with that.

i agree with the rest of what you said med., though if your stuffed in the back in a cubicle all the time, sometimes i wonder how one can find an environment where they can learn from other's experience.

 But here's the difference between people like me and people like you:

you took a gamble bulgar.  so did med., and so did i.  i don't think any of us know how it will turn out in a decade or whatever time frame you're working on.  if your only goal of not being a cad monkey is to a get license, good luck and godspeed but lots of stuff comes after that.  if your goal is to design some big fancy bilbao thing, then med. is probably right in suggesting you have a lot to learn.  if your goal is to be able to afford a vacation for you family, well i have no idea how to do that.  either way, i sincerely hope everything works out well for all of us.

Feb 20, 13 5:06 pm

Curt  - fair enough about the "paying your dues" analogy.  I think about it when I hear that description and come to think about it - it can be pretty insufferable - especially when you hear it from a person who is trying to hire a person of 2-5 years of experience as an "unpaid intern."

That said, I don't want you to get me wrong I actually like where I work and what I do at my job - I find it to be a healthy mix of design and technical stuff.  In all honesty, after a recession or two - I am of the mentality of "I'll be happy to polish up that bathroom detail!"

Afterall, a project can never be successful without input from a techical director or spec-writer.  There are many of those who I worked with who never designed a thing in YEARS and are very high in demand for thier expertise and get paid premeir salaries for it.

Feb 20, 13 5:30 pm

And that's not to say (as curt mentioned) I hope it does work for you.  All the best!

Keep in mind there are many types of architects out there.

Feb 20, 13 5:31 pm

Perkins+Will is sort of rudderless right now.  Management is really invisible on a day to day basis.  The layoffs are actually a popularity contest.  Like everywhere else, finanacial success is affirming the opinions of the self delared great.  Works in the good times, not so much now.

Feb 21, 13 1:04 pm

I guess we were all pencil monkey's back in the day.  I was once told never draw more on a Friday morning than you can erase in the after noon.  Oh and always save Friday afternoons  to poche drawings. Ya, Friday was always a long lunch with a beer..or your flavor of the day.

Feb 21, 13 7:08 pm

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