Perkins+Will Announces Merger with Sink Combs Dethlefs

October 9, 2017

Perkins+Will, one of the oldest and most respected interdisciplinary architecture and design firms in the world, announced today that Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs, a national leader in sports, recreation, and entertainment architecture, has joined the firm. Denver now becomes the home of Perkins+Will’s 24th design studio.

The merger, which significantly bolsters Perkins+Will’s visibility in the Rocky Mountain West region, is part of the firm’s strategy to meet growing global demand for design that promotes holistic human health and well-being.

“The biggest driver behind the union of our two firms is the increasing focus on designing for ‘full-circle’ health and well-being—that is, giving people the opportunity to be active, fit, healthy, and happy at every point on the continuum of life experience,” says Perkins+Will CEO Phil Harrison. “Together with Sink Combs Dethlefs, we can deliver creative, research-driven solutions to meet this demand, while providing superior client service—a shared hallmark of our practices.”

Founded in 1962, Sink Combs Dethlefs’ projects include the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at the UCHealth Training Center, home of the Denver Broncos, in Englewood, Colorado; the University of Michigan Crisler Arena renovation and William Davidson Player Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan; the Chesapeake Energy Arena renovation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and the visitor and conference center at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

Beyond Sports and Recreation: Converging Disciplines

The merger comes at a critical time in the architecture, design, and construction industry, where historically distinct project typologies, disciplines, and practice areas are now blending in both form and function, and where health and well-being are considered paramount. For example, academic buildings are adopting active workplace design trends; corporate interiors are borrowing design elements from health and wellness centers; healthcare facilities are taking design cues from the hospitality sector; hotels are incorporating aspects of sports and recreation; athletics and entertainment facilities are serving as community anchors in walkable, mixed-use urban developments; and so on.

By combining firms, Perkins+Will and Sink Combs Dethlefs can cross-pollinate services to meet these overlapping market needs.

“This ‘blurring of the lines’ is a powerful emerging trend in the world of design, so it’s an exciting time to be leading the way forward,” says Don Dethlefs of Sink Combs Dethlefs, now chair of Perkins+Will’s expanded Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment practice. “By blending our areas of expertise, we’re able to provide clients—no matter what sector they’re in—with fresh, forward-thinking solutions that prioritize fitness, health, and well-being.”

Expanded Range of Client Service Offerings

Known for designing arenas and event centers, collegiate athletic facilities, community recreation centers, civic centers, and spectator venues, Sink Combs Dethlefs naturally expands Perkins+Will’s range of client service offerings.

This is particularly true in the higher education sector, where Perkins+Will is an established leader in the design of student centers, research facilities, academic buildings, administrative centers, and residence halls, as well as in campus planning, and where the firm’s portfolio of athletic centers is now starting to grow.

It is also true within the urban design sector, where Perkins+Will’s Cities and Sites practice is global leader in creating dynamic, animated, health-conscious cities, and where sports and entertainment arenas are increasingly becoming catalysts for economic growth in downtown mixed-use districts.

“The addition of Sink Combs Dethlefs’ highly specialized talent and expertise will be a great boon to our clients around the world, and will certainly open new doors for us,” says Harrison. “Already, many of our most valued and long-standing clients have expressed their excitement about the merger and are eager to explore the possibilities.” 

By the same token, Perkins+Will’s expertise across a dozen practice areas, combined with its worldwide network of talent, greatly diversifies the types of services that Sink Combs Dethlefs can offer.

“As one firm, we now have shared access to all of the talent and resources that meet our clients’ needs,” says Andrew Barnard, former president of Sink Combs Dethlefs, now managing director of Perkins+Will’s Denver office. “The client experience will be smoother, simpler, and more efficient. The quality of work and caliber of design, which have always been high, will be amplified. And the level of personalized client service, which has always been exceptional, will reach new heights. We see this as all very positive.”

Greater Geographic Reach, Greater Impact

In addition to new service offerings, the merger gives both firms greater exposure geographically. Sink Combs Dethlefs’ 50-person flagship office in Denver—now Perkins+Will’s 24th design studio—significantly strengthens Perkins+Will’s presence in Colorado and the greater Rocky Mountain West region. Perkins+Will’s projects there to date include the Lory Student Center at Colorado State Universityin Fort Collins, Colorado; the University of Colorado, Anschutz, Cancer Pavilion in Aurora, Colorado; and Intermountain Healthcare’s Alta Vista Hospital in Sandy, Utah.

Sink Combs Dethlefs’ 10-person practice in Chicago, which will soon operate out of Perkins+Will’s design studio in the iconic Wrigley Building downtown, establishes Perkins+Will as a new leader in sports and recreation in the Midwest. Projects there include the Joyce Center Fieldhouse and Rolf Sports Center, both at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the Athletic Research Center at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All three, designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs, are under construction. Perkins+Will’s Ryan/Walter Athletic Center at Northwestern University is also under construction and scheduled to open in 2018.

The merger also enhances Sink Combs Dethlefs’ ability to win new work nationally and internationally, as well.

“It’s a tremendous advantage to be part of Perkins+Will’s constellation of 24 design studios around the world,” says Lindsey Peckinpaugh, an associate principal based in Sink Combs Dethlefs’ Chicago office. “We are now one firm with global reach and resources, and yet we remain totally committed to and invested in our local communities.”

Continued Leadership in Sustainability, Health, and Well-Being

Finally, the fusion of the two firms is a natural extension of Perkins+Will’s legacy in health, wellness, and sustainability leadership, which has long been one of its greatest differentiators. Perkins+Will is a trailblazer in the movement toward holistically sustainable design, and is known for seminal industry innovations like the Precautionary List, the Transparency website, the resilient building rating system RELi, the development of Portico with Google and the Healthy Building Network, and the adoption Fitwel.

It is Perkins+Will’s belief that sports and fitness play an important role in the development of healthy lifestyles, and that healthy lifestyles play a commensurate role in the development of sustainable cities and communities. 

“Human health and well-being are critical aspects of sustainability. With a growing body of research showing the link between physical fitness and overall health, it is our moral and ethical obligation to create places that prioritize health and promote physical activity—across all project types, market sectors, and disciplines,” Harrison says. “Posterity depends on it.”

Noteworthy Projects

 Key sports, athletics, and recreation projects designed by Perkins+Will include:

·       Ryan/Walter Athletics Center at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (under construction);

·       Baylor Scott and White Sports Therapy and Research facility in Frisco, Texas—a first-of-its kind collaboration between the Dallas Cowboys and Baylor Scott & White Health (under construction);

·       LA Lakers Headquarters and Training Center in El Segundo, California (with Rossetti);

·       Meadowvale Community Centre and Library in Mississauga, Canada (2017);

·       York Community Centre in Toronto, Canada (2017);

·       University of Massachusetts Amherst Football Performance Center in Amherst, Massachusetts (2014).

Key sports, athletics, and recreation projects designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs include:

·       Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at the UCHealth Training Center, home of the Denver Broncos, in Englewood, Colorado (2014);

·       University of Michigan Crisler Arena renovation and William Davidson Player Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan Michigan (2013);

·       Chesapeake Energy Arena renovation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2013);

·       PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania (2015);

·       University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Fertitta Football Complex(underway);

·       University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center Fieldhouse in South Bend, Indiana (underway); and

·       Marquette University’s Athletic Research Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (underway).

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