Cooper Carry Inc.
Cooper Carry – Alexandria, VA
Cooper Carry is one of America's most dynamic, context-driven design firms focused on the creation of EXCEPTIONAL PLACES - neighborhoods, buildings… Glassdoor
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I worked at Cooper Carry Inc.Pros
Cooper Carry is a very reputable firm with some very notable architects working on some outstanding projects. There are (or at least were) a great many senior level project managers that were outstanding individuals to work with. They provided expertise, wisdom, and a sense of belonging. When times were good they had a mission to empower the younger generation but as the economy worsened, the first to go was the younger staff. When there were signs that the economy was weakening, they remained silent and when it was clear that the economy was in recession, they finally decided to diversify. This was far too little and far too late.Cons
Cooper Carry Alexandria is a beautiful office where things might look nice on the surface but it will only take a week to realize that underneath the beauty it’s an extremely hostile environment. The pay is all-together unsatisfactory. The culture there is extremely cliquey and downright poisonous. None of the senior level staff really quite understands the kind of monster they created. The management is a 1950s business model meaning that when work slows down layoffs happen in the masses. There is virtually no diversity of any scale -- even physical diversity. All of the people of different cultures and ethnicities were either laid off or left voluntarily because of the negative reception they got. If you do not fit a particular mold you will be an outsider (professionally and socially) for good. They cannot keep their most talented architects and the overall sense is that the firm has become somewhat of a revolving door. The Alexandria office particularly has grown to be rather incestuous with family members and close friends of some of the partners and associates getting preferential treatment -- therefore managing to outlast mass layoffs and outrageous pay cuts. There have been multiple rounds of layoffs that cut deeply into some of their most seasoned veterens and most talented people. And eventually things got extremely ugly. In terms of design, their work has become diluted with a rather talentless and diluted younger generation of "designers " clinging to "classical" revisionist architecture. The younger staff is rather clueless of some of the inspiring modern advances in architecture and have aggressively suppressed any notion of modernity. They cling to outdated "neo-classical revival architecture with an overall sense of aggressive mobilization and bellicosity. The even worse part about all of this is that time and again people would re-invent the wheel when it came to designing urban spaces. And when they have successfully reinvented the wheel there is only unrelenting praise as if to say that the canons of all major architectural design ideas have been suspended where they are the subject. Cooper Carry DC prides itself as an urban-infill and planning firm yet they put all of that in the hands of license-less, talentless, and woefully unqualified individuals who would be laughed at in some of the more reputable firms. After I had enough (more than three years) it became abundantly clear that firms with similar project types not only made tremendous advances but also did it way better than Cooper Carry. When I moved to a new firm I was shocked at how friendly and approachable people were at any level. This made me realize that leaving was the very best decision I could have ever made.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Diversify. You can't afford to go through another recession. The 1950s business model is old and outdated and has been proven to be an appalling failure. Monitor the culture of your firm -- you have no idea how hostile it is.Doesn't Recommend