Friday25 July 2014

bd global

US architecture redundancies pile up

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While BD has been reporting redundancies in the UK, grim reports have been emerging from the US about mass culls from some of the country’s biggest practices.

California-based LPA began the new year by announcing that it would reduce staff numbers by 12%, losing around 30 people, while just before Christmas LPA’s Orange County neighbour, 460-strong Mulvanny G2 Architecture, was reportedly cutting 20% of its staff.

Pittsburgh-based Perkins Eastman, one of the US’s largest architectural practices, has cut 10% of staff, representing the biggest loss in the firm’s 24-year history.

And Gensler, the US-based practice that topped BD’s World Architecture 100 last month, has lost 10% of its workforce.

David Gensler, executive director of Gensler, said: “We’ve weathered the downturn better than most so far, but we aren’t through this by any means. We'll continue to struggle until the market starts to turn.

“We’ve had to lay off about 6-7% of our staff, and we've had some attrition. That will probably have to continue over the next several months. How far we will contract, I can't say.”

HOK’s US arm is also reported to have let staff go, although it would not confirm the number of losses, while Fxfowle Architects, which has offices in New York and Dubai, has lost 6% of staff.

But one practice is bucking the trend. Chicago-based Perkins & Will is recruiting aggressively, with more than 25 positions currently advertised on its website.

Bill Viehman, Perkins & Will principal and chief marketing officer, said: “These conditions are conducive to staff recruitment, but staff retention is equally important. Stability creates a sense of success and confidence.

“The unprecedented economic conditions require unprecedented focus and fresh thinking. It is clearly not ‘business as usual’.”


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