Callison Architecture Reviews

Updated March 18, 2015
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3.1
46 Reviews
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Callison Architecture Chairman & CEO John Jaestrom
John Jaestrom
14 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great people, very little opportunity for advancement in title or salary.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Principal in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate Principal in New York, NY

    I worked at Callison Architecture full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    New York Office

    The offices are very nicely appointed with an open plan concept (no one in a corner office), lots of sunlight, complimentary beverages (coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, tea, snapple, soda, filtered water), and any technology/software that anyone may need.

    Top tier clients come knocking on the door since the firm is so large and well known. There are plenty of people and resources to throw at any project as needed and the firm is positioned in cities all over the globe giving them an unprecedented reach. If you are willing to move to China for a year or two there is huge opportunity for growth as that is were the company is accelerating the most.

    The people who you work with are the best thing about coming to work everyday. For the most part, they are a good group of people that are easy to work with and fun to spend most of your day with.

    Cons

    The biggest issue is that salary increases are next to impossible (other than the meager 1.5% annual raise). The "mother ship" is in Seattle and they make all the decisions for everything but they are removed from the day-to-day of the "gateway" offices.

    Promotion from within is also very difficult; they like to hire people for a specific purpose at a specific price and keep you there (pigeon hole). They have no problem hiring from the outside for positions that could easily been filled by existing staff.

    There is a ridiculous system for review and promotion that is just "lip service" and nothing results from it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote from within and allow people to grow into more than they are. It may be more efficient to have a talented person only do the function that they do best but it offers them very little in the way of experience. Expose people to other facets of the profession.

    Pay people salaries that are in keeping with the local standard (the mother ship in Seattle doesn't understand NY salaries).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. not the best culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Architect in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Project Architect in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Callison Architecture full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    good benefits : Health, transportation, and professional memberships

    Cons

    lack of culture, lack of integration as a firm - each team stays isolated

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    employees need feedback to grow, good work to stay interested, integration and pollination between teams grows the possibility of a place to call home.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. One of the best places that I have ever worked.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Dallas, TX

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

    Pros

    The atmosphere is very professional with out a lot of company politics. The staff is energetic and eager to do great work. All are eager to learn.
    Firm provides outstanding growth opportunities.

    Cons

    Workload is heavy and hiring people is difficult due to other firms "poaching" employees. The young staff is prime for salary driven moves to other firms. Great benefits package does not always appeal to young people.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5. Treats employees well

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Callison Architecture

    Pros

    Many resources to progress professional development for a young designer in the Nordstrom Studio

    Cons

    Tight desk configuration but office upgrades are planned

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. OK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Callison Architecture

    Pros

    good company benefit and large projects

    Cons

    no culture and limited career opportunities

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful

    Office Administration

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Callison Architecture

    Pros

    benefits were alright, work was easy

    Cons

    Corporate, unfriendly, cold, sterile, too many meetings, too regimented, not enough opportunities for advancement

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be more human

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. Lowest pay in town (below director roles), maximum overloads, no work/life balance, management shares zero plans for the future (untrustworthy and old school mentality), no one looks out for each other (constant stress and competition)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Architect in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Project Architect in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Callison Architecture full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Downtown location, work social activities are fun (after hours and I'm your budget, of course)

    Cons

    Lowest pay in town, untrustworthy management, work overload, long hours, no work/life balance for anyone below a director role, very old school way of managing, and design ideas are outdated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I maxed out the number of characters allowed by this app

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. various project types and chances but lack of management

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

    I have been working at Callison Architecture full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    various project types and chances

    Cons

    lack of management, leadership, project finance balancing

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 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)

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. good place to get working visa

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Callison Architecture full-time

    Pros

    good place to learn from group

    Cons

    leaders in the company are all good

    Approves of CEO

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