Has anyone heard of layoffs yet, or been laid off?

I just heard that BBG in New York just laid off 20 people...

I've heard of spot-layoffs here and there, just wondered about the larger picture.

Oct 17, 08 3:49 pm

i heard DEGW in NY is making some cuts,

i'm in SF, not too much here, knock on wood

Oct 17, 08 4:09 pm

There are layoffs going on everywhere.

My firm has had 2 rounds of layoffs and I'm sure the third is right around the corner. Other major firms in my city have had similar situations or have hiring freezes. I won't name names obviously.

Oct 17, 08 5:02 pm

at least you can collect un-employment.....

Oct 17, 08 5:04 pm

cryzko, definitely not a guarantee.

Oct 17, 08 5:09 pm
Olga B.

3 out of 11 are gone here

Oct 18, 08 8:48 am

20 (of maybe 120 or so) just let go in the office I used to work for in Milwaukee.

Oct 18, 08 10:47 am

Layoffs in Denver I have heard of:

Davis Partnership

Almost zero firms hiring. Many highly qualified candidates competing for the few available positions. Lots of projects under construction but very little backlog at architecture firms.

Oct 18, 08 4:28 pm

My old firm in the Midwest laid off about 20% of its workforce this year. Another friend lost her job recently in Cincinnati, with a slew of coworkers. Meanwhile here in LA, several friends who recently graduated are having a terrible time finding jobs.

Oct 18, 08 5:36 pm
timothy sadler®

NBBJ Seattle has laid folks off.

Oct 18, 08 7:42 pm

It was probably linked from the news section, predictions for NY of a drop in employment in construction from 130,000 to 100,000 by 2010. That's 1 in 4 will go.

Oct 18, 08 8:10 pm

I'm a recent grad, currently job-hunting in LA and the other day called 12 firms of various sizes and caliber - no one is hiring, and one told me they had just had a big lay-off.

Oct 18, 08 8:46 pm

I am also a recent graduate and hate the fact that i graduated this year...... but finally after 3 months of job hunting, i was fortunate enough to find a job last week. sigh....

Oct 18, 08 10:56 pm

A buddy of mine was hired at a residential/multi family specialty firm in the begining of the summer after he graduated and was laid off only 5 months later...

He's still looking for a job.

::I my best redneck voice::


Oct 19, 08 9:19 am

For the recend grads, I feel for you guys. I was told horror stories about the crash of 1991 where profession almost became extinct. Basically so few people coming out of school were hired by architecture firms, that they had to make career changes. It is said that the profession is still reeling from that to this day and is very visibly missing an entire generation of architects.

Not sure about some of you guys but in my office the gap is very obvious -- It's people that are around my age (late 20s) or younger and then people who are in their 50s or older.

I don't think things will get as ugly as 1991 because the dynamic has changed tremendously since then. There are other disciplines that tend to do a lot better in different economic scenarios. Right now higher education, senior living, k-12, science/tech, adaptive reuse, historic preservation, and institutional are doing extremely well.

There are firms still hiring. If some of you guys who are still looking are interested in the DC area, I know of places who are looking. Just drop me a private email.

Good Luck!

Oct 19, 08 9:27 am

true about '91. that was me. for a couple of years i sold cookies in a mall, records in a mall, and books - in a mall. by '93, though, i got a job in an architecture office. if any of you end up in a bind, just take anything and go from there. it can work out ok.

Oct 19, 08 9:35 am

i have decided that if the worst happens i will work as hard as ever doing whatever, if that means two jobs, if that means becoming a migrant architect, i will do whatever it takes. i thank my mom for that. i worry about the architects or should i say interns, with families, it will be tough for them.

Oct 19, 08 9:59 am

I feel like the reason I'm not sweating my job too much (besides for the fact that I don't like it) is that I'm one of the lowest paid people there doing things that either a PA or a PM do plus production.

I feel like in this profession, you have to put in 100% and then go the extra 10 miles. That's been my mantra and this is what has kept me out of trouble and this what has kept my anual reviews consistently in positive territory. And at the same time I know that I am just as expendable as all the people before me who got laid off.

It's a tough one and not for the faint of heart. I was told from the begining that if you are looking for job stability and security, this isn't the right profession.

Oct 19, 08 10:12 am

what happened to steven in 91 happened before in 81. i have been around that time as a new graduate.a lot of my classmates dropped out the scene. i worked but i didn't really like the projects. me and few friends formed a group and started to write articles and tried to start an opposition. it worked to a degree. group became popular and most of people start to come to meetings were art students.
i'd suggest stay in architecture as long as you can eat. that means other jobs etc. try to do other things related to your field. organize neighborhood groups, create lectures for your community about built environment. you can coordinate these with bigger organizations like aia, city or schools.
i feel worst for the people who have started their careers. newly graduated ones can still stay with their parents and take menial jobs as construction workers (i did) and other less than ideal jobs. but people who are in architecture already are the ones who will get hurt for the most. because at their level, once you take a long break, it is very hard to come back to it with technology changed and different ways of doing architecture in place. yes, things happen fast in this profession.
many people will take few remaining jobs in architecture that will make them forget everything they have learned and do title blocks and other less than their heroic education promised them.
never lose your focus. it will get better. many extras will disappear forever. many people you talk about now, will never be heard from, but stay focused and stay in architecture.


some of you sometimes will regard to people older than you as old, dinosaur, yesterday etc.., although, understandably mixed with the youthful energy and with lack of experience.
each time you see an older person still punching the hours and telling you to revise the drawing, idea, presentation etc., they have the experience and wintered several of these meltdowns and still managed to stay in the field and very much into it.
think of that, where you would be in thirty years and how you will be regarded by young professionals who want to get you out of there and showing you an old trick of a shape, and, telling you this is the 'new' thing. then you ask, "let's see how long he is going to hold on to it?"

these are also good times to evaluate many things, study (doesn't have to be with a school,) involve, commit, develop that project you have been talking about...

don't let getting fired finish all your goals and ideas, if in fact if you let go.

Oct 19, 08 11:38 am

i'm thinking about going to trade school......

seems like theres toooooo many factors in the field to even compete...i.e. knowing lot of programs/working at other firms/etc...

for those that have kids..... that's going to be hard.....good luck with that

Oct 19, 08 12:32 pm

Orhan, sage advice there my friend, and things i am concerned about as well. i think the thing that may help though is to not get to leveraged in one specific area or niche of the profession. while technology will change, the creative impulses tend to be cyclical in nature and tend to jump along popular trends. hejduk, pichler, lebbeus seemed to find their way fine, in any market condition. in fact they seem to operate outside market conditions. i still love reading that hejduk's imprint is all over the NJ turnpike or at least that is what he worked on at one point in his life. the other thing to keep in your pocket is the idea that times like these bring out the absolute best of all of us, the depression should be a model for all creative types on how to survive.

Oct 19, 08 12:50 pm

"i think the thing that may help though is to not get to leveraged in one specific area or niche of the profession"

that doesn't work..... been doing that for 8 years........ and been trying to get in a firm for the past 4 years....... but hey, to each their own.....

Oct 19, 08 12:56 pm

so, cryz, you think all those in 1970's passive solar crowd did well by being leveraged in one specific niche market?

i think leed is going to change, i think there will be leed specialists and the leed thing will move beyond the profession's desire to keep pace. i think it'll become more important to be ethical than becoming a specialist. locking into one area of this game is wrong for all concerned.

Oct 19, 08 1:25 pm

unfortunately, i am also a recent graduate, have to find a job in the end of this year.

email with myy VC, cover letter, decent portfolio, to around 40 firms in NYC, 10 firms in Boston, 25 firms in LA, 15 firms in SF, 25 firms other states. and I end up with almost nothing. all replies are no hiring. and they hate calling.

hardcopies to 10 firms, no reponses yet.

on August 2008, i still find it is highly potential to locate an ideal job in good area. now architecture business finally get influnced in almost 1 month.

do not know.,outside is also awful, and except eastern asia.

maybe it is a perfect time to work for an almost boring, none-style, botique firm

Oct 19, 08 1:28 pm
timothy sadler®

I started at SOM Chicago in June of 1990, a month after graduation, and was laid off after only 5 months (November 1, an event noted in the Tribune as the "Halloween Massacre", a mass layoff of 50 architects plus the entire IT staff). I worked for Kelly Temporary for a while - got to work in the White Sox front office - then went to graduate school to ride out the rest. Everyone I knew in Chicago lost their job at one point or another.

Our plight even appeared in the mainstream media. An article appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 1991 titled "In This Economy, Be Glad You're Not A Young Architect" chronicling the travels of a U-Texas-Austin grad who had gotten laid off from a number of high-profile firms. I was already accepted to grad school and knew my short term future, but that article scared the bejeezus out of me. Didn't know if I'd ever get back to the point where I would have a job again, but I was too young and shortsighted at the time to know that the storms would blow over, and everything would get okay again.

Oct 19, 08 1:33 pm

OF brings up a very good point...

periods of recession are great times to go back to school.

Oct 19, 08 1:46 pm

i dont think a person in this field should be specialized in 1 niche'. what if that niche' dries up and your out of luck.

i also believe that jobs/firms shouldnt focus soooo much on the traditional side of office life. there's alot of talent out there that can be utilized in a design/work office but due to the typical 'standards' of hiring/etc, alot of talent gets over looked. why do you think talented people leave the profession!!!!

Oct 19, 08 1:52 pm

cryz, totally read your point wrong, you were agreeing with me, my bad.

Oct 19, 08 4:02 pm

Being a generalist might help you avoid market downturns, but it also ensures that you are always going to be competing with a huge number of people for employment and projects - good times or bad. From what I've seen, specialist firms tend to make more money (and pay more). If you are more one for capitalism than conviction, one can do pretty well with the Madonna model - do what's hot when it's hot, and move on to the next thing before it blows up.

Downturns are never consistent across the whole industry - I bet this is a great time to be in oil field services or defense infrastructure.

Oct 19, 08 4:35 pm

3 more...

Oct 20, 08 1:07 pm

Antisthenes, 3 more what?

Oct 20, 08 1:09 pm

Approximately 100 more

Oct 20, 08 1:13 pm

Don't tell me that a firm laied off 100 employees!

Oct 20, 08 1:15 pm

However, we also have 140 internal vacancies

Oct 20, 08 1:18 pm

f*ck joe the plumber, who's gonna help JOE THE ARCHITECT?

Oct 20, 08 1:23 pm

Exactly. Joe the plumber definitely has better job security than we do.

Oct 20, 08 1:28 pm

i think the country is gonna hit rock bottom soon..... better stock up on canned food and get ready for the riots....

Oct 20, 08 1:30 pm

I say this in all seriousness, not to be flip.

When I got out of architecture school the first time, I waited tables for three years. Nice places, good food, good wine, good tips. Had the time of my life, really. Once I started to work at a firm, it was two or three years before my 40-hour paycheck rose to the amount I'd been making working 25 hours a week (5 dinners) at the restaurant.

Cuisine for thought.

Oct 20, 08 1:39 pm


i made more cash in construction/model building/exhibit engineering than i can make in architecture right now (entry level because thats how the system works)

sort of sad if you ask me.......

Oct 20, 08 1:51 pm

when i hear the candidates talk about jobs all i can think about is 'exploitable labor' and class war.

Oct 20, 08 4:25 pm

Hearing from various sources - its sounding like Black Monday in NYC architecture today:

Can anyone confirm:

60-80 laid off - hi-rise residential firm
30 laid off - three letter prominent firm
20 laid off - post-modern developer firm
10 laid off - planning firm
20 laid off - another three letter prominent firm
10 laid off - hotel/interiors firm

Oct 20, 08 4:56 pm

curious if the suicide rates are going to rise in the u.s.

i'm sure depression and anxiety is higher also.........

Oct 20, 08 5:03 pm

Name some names. Have some balls... Otherwise no one knows where ti send their resumé.

Oct 20, 08 5:19 pm

.......not to send their resumes....

Oct 20, 08 5:20 pm

exactly, cryzko!

Oct 20, 08 5:25 pm

I've already seen a couple articles on escalating depression/divorce/ suicide statistics.

Oct 20, 08 6:05 pm

layoffs , what layoffs, hold on one sec. HR on the other line....

Oct 20, 08 6:30 pm

i didnt read this whole thread, so someone might have said this

...its not just architecture its alot of professions ..its all b/c of the economy ..but i have a feeling we will dig our selves out of this slump soon.

Oct 20, 08 6:59 pm

would you buy stocks now, hoping it is a low point?

Oct 20, 08 7:42 pm
some person

I just found this article from July 5, 1990: New York Times
"Troubled Times for Architecture Industry"

18 years ago...

Oct 20, 08 10:12 pm

Back in 91, at the beginning of the year I was one of 29 people at Morphosis. But over the next several months, three of the biggest jobs died in a row, and I was one of seven remaining nine months later -- then the partners split up. I luckily was able to work with the startup of Roto through 9-92 when I went back to (grad) school; by the time I was out in '94 things were looking up again in architecture. Hopefully, even in a worse case scenario, this downturn wouldn't be any longer...

Oct 21, 08 12:14 am

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