Architect and businessman Art Gensler, founder of what is now one of the largest design firms in the world, passed away last night at his California home. He was 85.
Gensler’s namesake firm was founded in 1965 and today is an international architecture, design, and planning firm with 50 locations across the world. In addition to creating a global vision for the firm, Gensler instilled an “ethos distinguished by a belief in collaboration, support of design education and career advancement, respect for individuals, dedication to clients, and endorsement of sustainable design,” according to the company’s website.
Gensler’s client-focused approach allowed the firm to expand globally and to realize building designs for companies in almost every industry. The firm at first focused on commercial interiors, helping promote the idea that public and work environments have a large impact on lived experience and elevating interior design’s status as a vital element of architecture.
Gensler’s design philosophies, along with his outsized influence on the business of commercial architecture, led to the steady growth of the company, which now employs around 5,000 people worldwide. Some of the most notable Gensler projects include the Alcoa Bank of America and Bank of America buildings in San Francisco; Shanghai Tower in China; City Center in Las Vegas; and the Dallas Cowboys world headquarters and training facility at the Star in Frisco, Texas.
The company has also designed some of Austin’s most recent high-profile projects, including Q2 Stadium, Moody Center, a new Yeti headquarters, and interiors at the SXSW Center.
The firm Gensler founded became a model for large-scale architectural businesses, which nabbed it the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Firm Award, the institute’s highest honor to a collaborative practice, in 2000. Gensler stepped down as CEO of the company in 2005 and as chairman in 2010. In 2015, he wrote Art’s Principles, sharing his insights and business philosophies and sealing his reputation as a groundbreaking design-firm builder, leader, and innovator.