Callison Architecture

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Callison Architecture Reviews

38 Reviews
38 Reviews
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Callison Architecture Chairman & CEO John Jaestrom
John Jaestrom
12 Ratings
  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    "Egos everywhere, Lack of culture, old and tasteless design"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Architectural Staff in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Architectural Staff in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Callison Architecture full-time (more than 3 years)


    Flexible schedule and 0 accountability (if you like this sort of thing), good health insurance , decent 401K, Flexible dress code (too flexible), they provide Visas for foreigners. We have great clients, big names and you experience what "real" developers demand to Architects. Good people, only staff (bottom of the hierarchy and usually young people). Free alcohol on Fridays (i do not drink). Great office location.


    I like to work for corporations, i really do, but have you heard about Office politics, and manipulation? Welcome to Callison. Managers & Principals are horrible, short-sighted and you have a company full of egos that will not allow anyone to be more competitive and better designers, no creative work, no attention to detail; there is always urgency to deliver cheap and fast "design", any approach to design is based on 90s aesthetics (people dress and think like in the 90s) it is like time stopped there. The office design is horrible, Work quality is compromised all the time, management has not been trained to be leaders, they just blame you for anything wrong and take credit for your ideas, if you are a raising star forget about that, talented designers will be seen as a threat to top management. All the time you will feel you are doing a work that does not match your skill level (several coworkers are more qualified than me doing my same job, and i even feel i am overqualified for what i do) Non-existing culture, values are not promoted, HR.... do we even have HR?, nobody does anything to improve anything, You are always underpaid (good luck asking for the median salary in our industry, you will not get it), 50 % of the company should be fired, and the rest should be put in quarantine to get away from an unhealthy company (i am including myself here, but i am planning to leave). There are no competitive people, have you ever seen someone famous or from a top architecture schools at Callison? No, because principals want to feel they're the best designers in the world, when they are not, please go to SOM or RTKL where at least you will find people with interesting careers. Having an intelligent conversation is pointless people don't even have the lingo, interest or preparation to sustain one. I have seen the most competitive employees being hired from RTKL, Gensler, HKS, HOK,SOM, you name it, and been fired because Callison "though" they did not perform good for that position, and it is always because upper management didn't like them. If you are applying for a top management position and are a good manager chances are you will be criticized all the time for trying to do the good thing and trying to make a radical changes, learn to distrust everybody including those that seem to be friendly and have been there for more than 5 years, and create some powerful allies to keep your job. Everybody there comes from Ohio University, or UW and if you are some unlucky SCAD student ( they always realize what i am describing here and leave) just go somewhere else. They love Ohio State University students... You will be forced (in a passive-aggressive way) to get your license because the company wants to rank in the top 10 firms in the US that plus the Seattle freeze, worst combination. Do not tell your future plans, or if you plan to get pregnant, do not trust your PM, Director or Principal, anything that does not help your manager in their secret agenda to become Principal makes you an unfaithful and an unworthy employee. If your PM is abusive nobody will do anything to stop them because chances are they're the Principal's prodigy that seems to be protected by god himself, even if that means that the company will go through legal sues for that individual, real story. Egos , and passive-aggressive behaviour everywhere. Absent CEO (for good or bad complex reasons i do not want to list here), no help to other good causes but United Way because the company wants to do what Nordstrom supports in an attempt to have that account forever. Technology is obsolete. You are not motivated, 0 feedback, this is not a place for A players (most managers there don't know the remote idea of this term) just for brainless people that just want to go to their homes and have zero ambition in life, no accountability to help society with design, humanity or the built environment. The new company that took over Callison will not change any of this because that would mean to change the business model, unless they fire almost every Principal, Director, and Manager. You will get promised tons of things & none of them will happen, if you plan to come here, be ready to start looking for a new job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get fired and do a favor to yourself, go to yoga and let go your ego, get involved in people's careers instead of your "Favorite" employees, most of them are full of ego. Take some real 101 architecture lessons, then come back. If you really want to be a manager start by reading the basics of your position. Keep doing what you are doing and will be a giant corporation with no respect from the Industry. Ask the AIA's opinion about Callison.

    Doesn't Recommend
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