Although the number of new projects has declined due to tight financial markets and the recession, several Texas Top Design Firms finished 2008 in good shape and continue working on projects.
“We had a record year,” says Ralph Hawkins, chairman and CEO of HKS in Dallas. “I attribute that to geographic diversity of the firm and market-sector diversity.”
HKS has expanded globally, with projects in the Middle East. The firm, which ranks 19 on the list of top design firms this year, designs sports facilities, including the $1-billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium and a $73-million special-events center for the University of Texas at Arlington. It also does government, aviation, hospitality and health-care work. HKS designed a $151-million, 512,000-sq-ft, critical-care tower for Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for Texas South Resources and the $250-million JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
Work at HKS has declined in 2009, spurring the company to spend more time connecting with clients to learn how HKS can strategically assist them, reinforcing the brand and pursuing all-size jobs.
“We’re seeing interest in how we can produce our services better, quicker, cheaper,” Hawkins says. HKS has instituted LEAN processes throughout the firm, which is “allowing us to better implement our projects with higher-quality documentation,” Hawkins adds.
Market kind to medium-size firm Turner Partners Architecture, a 25-year-old, medium-size firm in Houston that ranked No. 78, also fared well in 2008, completing a few high-profile projects such as the 1,100-seat sanctuary added to the First Colony Church of Christ campus in Sugar Land, a three-story classroom building at the Village High School in Houston and BP America’s Westlake Child Development Center at the oil company’s West Houston office park.
“We had a record year in terms of revenue for the company and quality of projects,” says Jack A. Duran, executive vice president of Turner Partners.
Duran reports strength in the education, health care and government market segments. Turner Partners works in all commercial building types but primarily on the private side. It plans to concentrate in the days ahead on education and health care.
“We are going after building types that, historically, we haven’t done a lot of,” Duran says.