July 31, 2012
By Patricia Brehm, Associate Editor, Metal Architecture Magazine
With the downturn of the U.S. economy, many architecture firms started to look abroad. They focused on the rising architectural hot spots in the Middle East and Asia. For some firms, the foray into the international market was recent.Raymond Pan, AIA, LEED AP, is design principal and director of Asia at HMC Architects, Ontario, Calif., and says, "HMC is new to the international platform; we started out five years ago building schools in the Middle East." Later, HMC beat 50 firms from 14 countries to design The First People's Hospital in the Shunde District of Foshan City, Quangdong Province, People's Republic of China. The hospital was acknowledged as a recipient of the 2011 AIA Healthcare Design Awards.
Other architects entered the international market because existing clients started working internationally. "We go where our clients ask us to be," notes Lori Top, AIA, LEED AP, associate and commercial section manager with Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Mo. Sometimes one relationship leads to years of international work. Top is currently working on several projects in Doha, Qatar, and she notes, "One commercial architecture project led to us working for the last seven years with the same developer of that initial project."
Some firms, though, entered the international market early in the firm's history. "We entered the international field in 1956, [when] the father of the company, Max Stanley, was interested in West Africa," says Rich Stump, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president and international federal marketing leader with Muscatine, Iowa-based Stanley Consultants Inc. "We set up a Liberia office and obtained a design commission for the Executive Mansion for the President of Liberia." Stanley Consultants has worked in 104 countries and maintains 11 international offices.