Rafael Vinoly Architects Reviews

Updated July 31, 2014
Updated July 31, 2014
10 Reviews

2.3
10 Reviews
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Rafael Vinoly Architects President Rafael Vinoly
Rafael Vinoly
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Overall neutrally rated introductory job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Junior Architect  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Junior Architect in New York, NY

    I have been working at Rafael Vinoly Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Exposure to corporate environment
    Lunch and learns and AIA credit options
    Benefits and insurance plan
    Nice office

    Cons

    Arrogance and complete silence throughout work environment
    No investment or mentoring in new employees
    No additional career opportunities within office
    No consistent area of expertise in design services

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Upper management are the straggling survivors of the yearly employee holocaust

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Lots of IDP hours available (because you'll be working long hours), good insurance benefits (although technically you're still paying for them), world-recognized firm name, some project work will be suitable for portfolio. A few of the younger project managers show some hope for fixing the deep ingrained problems at RVA, but only time will tell.

    Cons

    The management are not the most talented people that have worked at RVA, simply the ones who have survived year after year of abuse, negligence, unprofessional treatment, and harassment. Sadly, they have likely survived by doing the same to those underneath them. Certain departments are overburdened with multiple layers of unnecessary leadership staff, while other departments seem to barely make deadlines due to staff scarcity. No chance of advancement, or more responsibility. Stingy with well deserved benefits. Project directors often issue conflicting instructions, and have huge egos that make architectural design difficult if not impossible. Pay seems decent until you realize how many hours they expect compared to competing firms on similar projects. Attention from management seems to be reserved for only the whipping boys of the company, and those favored souls who are going to "inherit the kingdom" in a few years (both groups seem totally brainwashed that their time at RVA is well spent)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Begin doing yearly reviews, send managers to legitimate business management classes, transition the leadership structure away from the RV-trickle-down that slows progress, creates inferior designs, and burdens the company with outrageous overhead. Give clear pathways for staff to advance in pay, responsibility, and training. Promote health and well-being with employees, rather than wondering why progress is slow because yet another employee got tired of the long hours and lack of respect and left for greener pastures. Create accounting measures to track the cost of endlessly hiring new employees that take months to become fully operational and contribute to projects. Consider the moral and ethical implications of a 95% visa-hostage work staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Junior architect

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I worked for a big name starchitect. It glossed up my resume in the short run.
    I have met incredible people from this place. Years after we all departed, we all still get together every now and then.
    This valley was the lowest point in my career, after departing, my career have reach one new peak after another.

    Cons

    Modern day slavery. 80 hours / week is the norm.
    No career opportunities.
    No work/life balance.
    Senior management lack long term vision. They are all yes (wo)men to the emperor

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    senior management had sold their soul long ago

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Model Maker on All Projects

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects

    Pros

    I loved working at RVAPC. Great project managers and a culture of support and encouragement. The model department was a joy to work in.

    Cons

    Long hours and sometimes negative experiences with burnt-out architects, but not bad.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more work for the firm and hire more model makers

  6.  

    The worst experience of my life

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I can't think of any

    Cons

    if you don't mind to be badly treated, badly payed, work at least 12 hours a day, be forced to go on sundays, and be constantly threatened to be fired otherwise, then this is the company for you.
    If you are abroad and they offer to give you a job, don't believe them. They'll make you pay for every expense (including a lawyer) and you'll be trapped.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    good to get trained here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Rafael Vinoly Architects

    Pros

    wonderful design project, good for resume
    can access to more phases of projects
    challenging design and presentation
    challenging clients
    internationally recognized brand

    Cons

    high turn over
    the worst benefit
    no family life
    leadership might not appreciate you at all
    no annual review with high management
    not nicely treat employee

    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    RVA- NOT number 1architecture firm in employees minds

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects

    Pros

    It is a large, reputable architecture firm with world-class design and innovation. As a junior architect this is a great place to get a start, but not a place to have an actual career.

    Cons

    The office culture, the treatment of employees and the overall atmosphere is atrocious. It is rare that people work less than 12+ hour days complete with 7 day work weeks. Additionally it seems that if you DO leave on time, you're obviously doing something wrong and are dispensable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employee retention would be higher if proper evaluations were conducted along with critical feedback. Every so often it would be nice to know that an employee is doing a good job. Communication is very poor from leadership and the fact that the employees are dispensable is widely known throughout the firm.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lots of rockstars.

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects

    Pros

    They have impressive large-scale projects and they're located downtown. Also, their research & training program appealed to my personal interest in educational programs, which I hoped to contribute some of my efforts to.

    Cons

    The directors only spoke to me when they needed something. There were a lot of egos to placate. It worried me when i heard rumors that the place is a revolving door and rumors that the firm exercises at-will employment often. I was aware I was overhead in a non-core/non-client-driven department and knew that I could be let-go at any moment. Also, I was disappointed by what was 'sold' to me at my interview and what happend when started working at the firm.

    Initially when I interviewed with my Project Director for the job and I asked about job growth, she told me the 'door is wide open.' As I settled into my job, I asked for feedback and to goal-set with my Project Director, which lead to vague responses. Soon after, I was told I wasn't as spontaneous as the firm, my expectations are too high, and that I asked questions that can't be answered. I wanted to make a difference at the firm, but was left crushed after the conversation.

    Here are a few examples why I dislike about Rafael Viñoly Architects:

    1. When the Director of Communications needed something from me, she would curl her pointer finger at me in a 'come here' motion to show that she needed me to go where she was where then she gave me directions on what to task to do. I didn't like her finger curling, but I put up, shut up and kept the peace. It left me feeling like I was being treated as a misbehaving child.

    2. I was neither informed nor invited to any design planning discussions with my directors: Project Director, Creative Director, Director of Communications, and Director of Environmental Graphics. It was no surprise to me when I was asked to execute a variety of e-press releases, e-marketing, e-internal newsletter communication initiatives the relevant images did not fit in the templates. My Director of Communications had a deadline and was noticeably irritated when I asked her questions about how she'd like to proceed about the ill-fitting images. I explained to her a strict vertical is not going to fit in a horizontal-sized space in the template. I then asked the Creative Director who also looked noticeably irritated that I was asking him the same question. He provided a solution and I executed it. The e-communication letters were sent out on time, albeit a little crude-looking, in my opinion.

    3. When I executed powerpoint presentations for my Project Director, she informed me that the Director of Environmental Graphics would be involved for the look and feel of the powerpoint presentation. Okay with me, except that while I'm executing, my Project Director AND Director of Environmental Graphics would give directions to me both at the same time! My Project Director directed me on editing the content while my Director of Environmental Graphics directed me to tweak images, type, design elements, etc. I would say, can each of you please take turns and give directions one at a time? No response from each of them, and they both proceeded to continue to give me directions simultaneously (basically, talking over each other). I then said, I will only take directions from my Project Director at this time, and Mr. Director of Environmental Graphics, I will review the powerpoint presentation with you afterwards for tweaking input. They both didn't look too jazzed about what I said, but begrudgingly agreed. I prefer to not execute simultaneous directives.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To communicate to staff about what's going on with the department/firm, provide clear direction, accept accountability, show transparency, etc.

    Doesn't Recommend
  10.  

    Best

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Architect  in  Dhaka (Bangladesh)
    Current Employee - Project Architect in Dhaka (Bangladesh)

    I have been working at Rafael Vinoly Architects part-time

    Pros

    Architecture is a dialogue with the forces of life. In every project, I seek to maximize the opportunity for civic investment with a goal of forming iconic works that fulfill the needs of the client."
    - Rafael Viñoly

    Cons

    “Great work, terrible environment”
     High profile jobs with great portfolio potential. Opportunity to amass lots of IDP hours in a very short time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    creative

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great work, terrible environment

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

    I worked at Rafael Vinoly Architects

    Pros

    High profile jobs with great portfolio potential. Opportunity to amass lots of IDP hours in a very short time.

    Cons

    Very low value of employee work. Long hours and low wages even by industry standards. High turnover rate means lots of sudden covering for the recently departed. Very inefficient due to singular designer who is balancing dozen+ projects in multiple stages.
    Principle is often disrespectful and unprofessional in manner to employees and even clients.
    Generally the number one topic of employee discussion is the desire to leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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