World’s Largest Architecture Firm Arrives in Australia

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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Gensler, the architecture firm behind Shanghai Tower, the soon-to-be second tallest skyscraper in the world, has opened its first Australian office in Sydney.

Simon Trude, founder of local design studio 2d3dcreative and a former employee at Genslers’s New York Office, will head Gensler’s new office in Market Street in the CBD.

In December of last year, Gensler reclaimed the title of the world’s largest architecture firm on Building Design UK’s 2014 World Architecture Top 100 list. The company reported worldwide revenues of $802 million last fiscal year.

The firm employs 1,468 architects across its 46 offices in 15 countries, a list that now includes Australia.

Dan Wiley, Gensler

Dan Wiley, Gensler

According to Dan Winey, regional managing principal for Gensler’s Pacific Northwest and Asian offices, Gensler’s initial focus is expected to be on corporate interiors. This objective aligns with its first major project being a refurbishment of the University of Technology Sydney Tower in collaboration with local firm peckvonhartel.

Gensler is then is then expected to tap into the large retail and food and beverage market in addition to growing its consulting portfolio in workplace design and performance.

The AFR also reported that Gensler hopes to leverage its existing global customers to secure work, including Japanese retailer Uniqlo, Westfield and Lend Lease, all of whom have a presence in Australia.

Menlo Park

Gensler’s Facebook Corporate Interiors, Menlo Park

The firm holds particular interest in the development opportunities in Sydney’s Barangaroo, which was a strong driver behind the timing of the launch.

“There’s a lot of opportunity happening in Barangaroo,” Trude told AFR. “The movement we’re seeing in the market is a reason for the decision to open doors now.”

In terms of projected expansion, Gensler has hinted at the possibility of opening more offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. The firm, renowned for growing organically, currently employs six people in the Sydney office, a number that could expand to 15 by the end of 2014.

Gensler's Los Angeles office

The atrium in Gensler’s Los Angeles office

In order to do this, Gensler will utilise staff from all over the globe in order to meet local design requirements, deadlines and budgets.

“You need to leverage talent wherever it is and you’ve also got to take advantage of cost circumstance,” Winey told AFR. “I’ve got 100 or so people in Bangalore. They’re very, very strong technicians. Typically we bring our staff in from Bangalore to do a project locally, but we also do some work from our Bangalore office, depending on the client’s needs.”

Gensler's Shanghai Tower

Gensler’s Shanghai Tower

Gensler’s most celebrated project at the moment is the 632-metre tall Shanghai Tower, due for completion this year in Lujiazui commercial district. The project is also set to achieve LEED Gold and be open to the public in 2015.

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