Gensler has boosted its sports architecture team in recent months by hiring five designers who had done the same type of work at AECOM, the designer of numerous sports and entertainment venues—including the Intuit Dome near Los Angeles scheduled to open later this year.
Such changes in company affiliation have been common since sports construction in the 1980s developed into its own subpractice within architecture, with most of the key players based in Kansas City, Mo. Gensler said in a statement that it has imbedded its sports practice within the firm, including strategic hires and expansion into that geographic market to work with top talent.
On Jan. 11, venuesnow.com reported that AECOM sports designers Greg Brown and Scott Sayers had changed their employer to Gensler, with the firm briefly posting the information on its website. The firm notes Brown as a studio director on a website page and Sayers is described as a senior technical architect. Both citations note their work on Intuit Dome, a $1.8-billion arena in Inglewood, Calif. for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, and on the Barclay's Center arena in New York City.
Both had been principals for AECOM on the projects.
On their respective LinkedIn pages, Brown is described as working at AECOM for more than 17 years, most recently as managing principal; Sayers is described as a 23-year veteran of that firm, most recently as a principal and director of operations.
Three other former AECOM employees—technical designers Hannah Bezerra, Nick Casertano and Joshua Klooster—also now work for Gensler.
Last May, Gensler hired Jon Niemuth, former director of sports for AECOM, where he had worked for 14 years, to serve in the same capacity. He also previously worked for architect-engineer Ellerbe Becket, which AECOM acquired in 1995, joining Ellerbe Becket after completing graduate school and staying 28 years.
In a recent interview with Sports Business Journal, Niemuth, who is based in Los Angeles, noted that while Kansas City, Mo. remains the heart of much sports design, the work has become somewhat decentralized. Gensler has offices "in L.A., Austin, Costa Rica and D.C., so North American sports, as you look at the size of our sports team, at just this firm, that's a third to a half of the capacity in Kansas City," he said. In its statement, Gensler noted that it also had a sports office in Seattle and that office as well as the ones in Los Angeles, Austin and Washington, D.C. were sports "center of excellence." The company also said it was growing sports practices "in Europe and Greater China."