Some NY architecture firms weather market uncertainty with big-money deals

When architecture firm Gensler was assigned to design a 1 million-square-foot office for Conde Nast at 1 World Trade Center, it was just one in a string of big-money deals for the company, Crain’s reported, including the renovation of 685 Third Avenue and developing plans for Hudson Yards.

“Work has been improving steadily,” said Joseph Brancato, a managing director at Gensler. “We are still in the process of adding to the head count.”

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Firms such as Gensler, HOK, Perkins Eastman, Studios Architecture and BAM Architecture Studio have all seen an increase in business, Crain’s said, with demand for health care facilities and corporate office interiors providing a lot of new clients.
The activity comes as much of the design industry is experiencing job and pay cuts.

“A lot of clients were sitting on the sidelines for so long that they just didn’t want to wait anymore,” said Bradford Perkins, CEO of Perkins Eastman, which has added around 30 employees so far in 2011. “They have come around to the idea that this is the new normal,” he said.

Other firms have been pulling their resources and adding talent by acquiring rival companies. Gene Kaufman bought Gwathmey Siegel, for example, and VOA Architecture acquired Inarch. [Crain’s]

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