Pei Cobb Freed Reviews | Glassdoor

Pei Cobb Freed Reviews

Updated June 21, 2017
8 reviews

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3 Ratings

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  1. Helpful (3)

    "Good Place for Work-Life Balance, not Design or Creativity"

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

    I have been working at Pei Cobb Freed full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good Work Life Balance, courteous people, very respectful (in relation to the architectural profession especially!), and benefits are pretty good. Seems like a family oriented environment. Projects are relatively high profile. It seems like a safe haven for recent graduates who want to make up for lost time during architecture school, and go to plays, museums, take weekends off, and travel. Also seems to be a great place for architects that want to have kids and raise families with minimal dignity.
    They pay for ARE tests, and for membership to either AIA or NCARB. They are reasonable with personal requests, as well, and employees are able to set limits and somewhat control their personal schedules.

    Cons

    Office Culture + Management Issues - Big Time! Some people can be over worked at times, while others don't do anything for periods on end. If you do well you are rewarded with more work, more complaints. If you don't do well, you get what you want anyways, and you work less.Serious Problem with delegating tasks, be it design-wise or even doing graphics in a powerpoint presentation. The micromanagement is really astounding, and the office fails to see how the architecture and the office suffer as a consequence. It makes employees - especially the younger crowd - not take responsibility for anything they do, let alone have any deep interest in it. The mentality can be quite passive aggressive-they don't like change, and a number of senior employees and partners alike talk behind people's backs with other employees - ragardless of seniority. Design is quite traditional, and slow paced - pretty "in the box" thinking. Harry Cobb is the only one left with any clout or connection with the intellectual architecture world. Creativity is a foreign word.
    Office culture makes a funeral home seem lively. I think many workers just want to get paid and go home - happy houris are almost considered an odd exception, rather than routine. Anything associated with "fun" let alone simple professional "communication" is odd to an extreme.
    DESIGNERS ARE NOT PROMOTED - only management types.

    Advice to Management

    If you want talent to come and stay with you you need to delegate more, trust your employees, and understand that an office, no matter what you do, is more than coming to work and going home. In addition, if making great architecture happens to be an objective, then improve intercommunication and office morale, encourage more model making and creativity. that is what architects - especially the good ones - want to deal with, and would be more than happy to do all the technical &*#), and go through all the vices at the office, if only that existed. Good Luck! OH and reward designers in addition to management types!


  2. "Good Pay & Benefits / No Opportunity for Architects"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Pei Cobb Freed full-time

    Pros

    Decent Pay, OK Benefits, Nice Location

    Cons

    This might be a good place to work as an architect, but much of the non-architect teams (finance, marketing, operations) are poorly staffed and stifled with years-long politics.

  3. "Horribly Managed Office with Zero Office Culture and Design Creativity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Architectural Designer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Architectural Designer in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pei Cobb Freed full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Regular working hours (but horribly boring beyond your imagination). The only advantage from that is you can save a lot of personal time and energy on your side stuff. So basically if you have a lot of side work to do and still need a stable income, go there, but don't expect anything fun, challenging, inspiring from this office.

    Cons

    The micro management is the deepest problem. The young employees are kept hidden from knowing what's going on in a bigger picture. The senior people and have regular design meetings with young people and don't leave enough room for you to make your own judgement. Sometimes you don't even understand the design intent and just wait for super specific assignments on a tiny part of job. The office brands themselves as a combination of 'large corporate's capacity' and 'small studio's agility' However, the fact is that they have a super bad management especially the management on young people. How can a so-called architecture corporate without any knowledge on good management and survive for decades? Miracle! And on the other hand, they keep designing I. M. Pei triangles, pin-wheels, simple dumb-looking boxes which are not just old fashioned, but extremely mind-numbing. How can a so-called small studio have zero design creativity and innovation? Basically it's like an isolated island which has zero communication with the outside contemporary architectural world and people working there seem have no passion at all for architecture and art. They can't wait for 6 o'clock and get out of the office.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to avoid micro management;
    Get more access to what's happening in contemporary architectural world;
    Try to obtain a better understanding of the workflow between different tools and programs;
    Don't repeat what you have done 30 or 40 years ago. That's architectural CRIME to keep placing extremely old fashioned things on this planet!


  4. Helpful (3)

    "On The Road To Exstinction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Architectural Designer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Architectural Designer in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pei Cobb Freed full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you work here long enough, you can reap great personal benefit and flexibility because they value loyalty. From a human decency standpoint, they are good to their people and avoid a "hire and fire" approach. For the most part, work/life balance is respected and the pay scale isn't as dire as other well-known firms.

    If you are further on in your career (10+ years), don't really care to socialize much with your fellow employees, and want work/life balance (don't we all?), then this would be a potential good fit.

    If you are a new graduate just starting your career and hoping to work somewhere fun with a great workplace culture where you will be mentored, learn a lot, and spend time with some nice, friendly people. Look elsewhere. There are other firms that are doing a much better job.

    Cons

    Absolutely terrible workplace culture. The office is broken up by studios for each partner and the partners are territorial about their staff. Everyone works in silos and there is hardly any office wide communication. People are nice, but not generally friendly. There is a palpable sense of complacency. People are satisfied just enough to not look for another job, but very few people would say they love working there. The majority seem to want to keep their heads down, get the work done, and go home on time. It is an attitude that the majority of the long term staff have acquired over time. The office culture feels like a library (one of the other reviews said a funeral home. Very accurate), and that having any type of "fun" is something you do outside of work. All untitled employees are dubbed "Technical Staff". Talk about out of touch with people. No right-minded architect wants that title.

    There are six design principals, all with their own, varying personalities. It is very clear that they can't agree on things and get on the same page because the strategic course of the firm is unclear. Some of the principals are much better to work for then others because of their approaches to people management, employee engagement, and organization of work. Others are completely passive aggressive, have terrible people skills, and believe most people are lesser than.

    Be careful, being on one of the principals teams is to be highly avoided, to the point that everyone feels sorry for the people that were so unfortunate to be placed on that team. I am not kidding, this is a ongoing joke within the office. The entire office would be much better off if this personality splintered off and started their own firm.

    Advice to Management

    Look up the term "employee engagement", meditate upon it, and then truly try to apply the principles.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Stuck in the past, in so many ways"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Architect in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Staff Architect in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pei Cobb Freed full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some very knowledgeable people. Much to be learned from the senior partners, if you can ever actually get close to them.

    Cons

    Very conservative design culture. If you can work quietly and have few ideas of your own, you can go far. Firm is living off past reputation.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of second-generation leadership and start over.


  6. "Talented People, Great Projects, Slow Advancement, Strong Hierarchy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pei Cobb Freed full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great Projects, Talented people, Good Experience

    Cons

    Long Hours, work life balance,

    Advice to Management

    more transparency, try to retain talent, less hierarchy, greater diversity


  7. "great place to start your architecture carrer"

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

    Pros

    - great projects
    - high profile jobs
    - design innovation
    - awesome people
    - prestige... will open doors to other firms later on

    Cons

    - low pay
    - corporate structure very hierachical, way too top heavy
    - long hours
    - career advancement is really slow

    Advice to Management

    would be nice if more career advancement were open to a larger pool of people. pcf is great for associates but not necessary

  8. "Talented people, interesting projects"

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

    Pros

    Challenging projects, interesting and unique opportunities.

    Cons

    Quiet, insular, bound by tradition.

    Advice to Management

    Enhance firm-wide interaction.