B A R Architects

  www.bararch.com
  www.bararch.com

B A R Architects Reviews

Updated June 21, 2014
Updated June 21, 2014
3 Reviews
3.8
3 Reviews

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
CEO
0 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    The BEST Architecture Firm I've ever worked for. (And I've worked at quite a few)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at B A R Architects full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    BAR is an excellent architecture firm to work for. It's the friendliest and most knowledgeable and professional group of individuals I've ever worked with. The staff is as much a team as they are a family. The general feel of the office is that of professionalism, enjoyment, caring, and compassion. Along with the obvious expectation of great design, exemplary client relations, and profitability, the management makes it obvious that their team of architects, designers, and support staff are all valued equally for their contributions, and are treated with a level of dignity and respect that is unmatched in other offices I've worked at. The managing principals know that the team is comprised of actual people, and therefore professional and personal growth are top priorities within the office.

    The principals make a point to speak with everyone they come in contact with, and welcome conversation throughout the day. They encourage both constructive criticism and helpful ideas from all the members of the staff, from the senior associates to the receptionist, and everyone in between. Besides the obvious contributions to the development of the projects, there are numerous venues and methods to contribute to the success of the firm and voice opinions about design, sustainability, professional development, and just about everything else.

    In terms of compensation, they make an effort to keep up with the industry average within San Francisco, which in reality is higher than the national average due to the extremely high cost of living. Along with good compensation, their benefits are amazing. The health and dental coverage is the best I've received at any architecture firm to date.

    There is a variety of experience levels amongst the staff, from seasoned veterans with an amazing amount of knowledge of the design and construction profession, to the new college graduates who have fresh viewpoints and ideas. I appreciated the variety of ages within the workplace, along with an even gender balance amongst the staff and the management. As you'd expect in the city of San Francisco, there's a wide representation of nationalities and backgrounds throughout the office.

    As in ANY firm, if you keep your head down, don't socialize with others, and don't participate in additional committees or efforts beyond that of the immediate project, then don't expect to make associate anytime soon. You'll get your paycheck, but if you want more than that then you need to show it. For those who are willing to show that they have the interest and ability to make a positive impact on the firm, then the management will take notice, and those individuals are rewarded with raises and promotions. I can attest to it firsthand.

    As the headline of this review states, this is the BEST firm I've ever worked at. Lets face it, during the past 10 years, many in the architecture field have moved around a lot, due to the golden years or the recession, work was either easy or hard to come by. As a result, I've had the benefit of working at numerous firms of different shapes and sizes, with various management structures and a variety of market segments and specialties. Out of all of them, I would put BAR Architects at the top of my list. It's not just because of benefits, pay, and perks, although they do an excellent job in those areas... but rather it's because of the people I worked with. Had my spouse and I not needed to relocate from San Francisco, I would have continued working at BAR... and I'd work there again if I have the opportunity.

    Being that BAR is a dog-friendly office, I know that my dogs will really miss visiting there. :-)
    I''ll REALLY MISS the alternate work week. Having every other Friday off, and a schedule that allows for numerous 3 and 4 day weekends throughout the year is amazing.

    Cons

    There aren't many if any Cons, to be honest. Maybe it's because I had such a great experience, but I can't think of one. If you wanted to work at a small firm, then this is not the firm for you. If you wanted to work at a giant firm and be an anonymous drone, then apply at Gensler, Perkins & Will, HOK, or a similar firm. If you're looking to work at a firm that only cares about iconic architecture, or getting projects published in magazines, and are willing to work in a sweat shop environment for low pay and awful benefits then this might not be the office for you. If you want to click a mouse at a famous boutique firm and work alongside a trust-fund intern who can afford to work for little to no compensation, then this is NOT the firm for you, instead you'll have better luck in Los Angeles. BAR cares too much about the profession to participate in those unprofessional employment/internship practices. Although the firm has had a reputation of having a traditional aesthetic, they are much more diverse and dynamic than that. With each new project, they are looking to expand their design portfolio and project aesthetic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work, and the amazing office atmosphere for your team. Your professionalism and enthusiasm is second to none. Your care and compassion for your employees is exemplary.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Marketing Coordinator: great company culture and inspiring coworkers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing Coordinator in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Marketing Coordinator in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at B A R Architects full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - BAR supports an actual life/work balance and gives employees every other Friday off!
    - The principals and other employees are smart and friendly
    - 50 years of being in the Bay Area means that BAR draws interesting projects and exciting clients
    - Benefits package was way better than average in the Architecture field

    Cons

    - There is a strong top-down approach to management and it is hard to move up quickly from the junior level
    - Investing heavily in new architecture technologies like BIM, but slow to adopt newer internal technologies, work flow practices and even internet browsers that would have made employee life a lot easier

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Give junior designers, coordinators and assistants more responsibility and room to fail. They will probably end up flying high but they never will get to shine without a chance.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Junior Designer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Junior Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Junior Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at B A R Architects full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    They compensate you if you work overtime with OT pay, with that said, they actually do not encourage you to work overtime at all. The work and life balance is great and most suitable for someone who has a stable family. You work 9 hour days but you get every other Fridays off.

    Cons

    This firm is top heavy; with 10 (old school thinking) principals on top and alot of minions below. This means a various of things:
    1. You will probably not get a creative work until you've put in the time 5+ years.
    2. The direction of the firm is fuzzy, no clear vision of what they want to be in a decades time.
    3. A high retention rate of mid-level associates (10+ years) that's fighting their way to the top. However, bleak hope for promotion with so many up at top.
    4. A very mediocre firm with very mediocre designs.
    5. Old school design thinking with zero innovation, new graduates will find them not receptive of new design techniques or skills.
    6. it's a 'put-your-head-down-and-work' kind of a firm, most of their work needs are red lines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    BAR needs to lose a few (maybe 7) principals, narrow their management team, and build their junior staff. Distribute creative work down the food chain and seriously re-hash their creative identity.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

Work at B A R Architects? Share Your Experiences

B A R Architects

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.