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Architects are at the front-end of the building cycle, so we wondered where they're finding opportunities in this challenging market. We hopped by Gensler's (quite colorful) Avenue of the Americas office to talk with regional managing principal Joe Brancato.
Joe points out that any change, good or bad, can mean work for architects. Firms looking to cut costs by consolidating space andsubleasing need designs; others ask architects to help with merger integrations by developing occupancy strategies. One client took an entire team from a defunct financial firm and asked Gensler to design half a floor for them. Joe also expects design work from new offshoots from old financial firms, and other companies looking torefresh their images.
More clients are also seeking smarter space to deal with future market changes, Joe says. Take two of Gensler's largest projects right now—One and Two Bryant Park. At The Bank of America Tower at the former, Gensler created flexible infrastructure(pictured) that can be reconfigured to meet the bank's changing needs. And at Two Bryant Park, MetLife requested that Gensler create a more collaborative workplace and areas for mobile employees. (photo credit: Paul Rivera)
In the meantime, Gensler's also taking advantage of the downturn to step up in-house training, work on enhancing long-term business, and spend more time with clients. Joe says it's important to let these clients know that you're there to help them in market blips—they'll remember when times turn around. Finally, the doting dad of five has also been coaching his 10-year-old son's football team, gardening, and making wine—he's practically self-sustainable if the economy drops further.

Related Topics: America Tower, Two Bryant Park