Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories, and Strategies Behind HOK

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John Wiley & Sons, Apr 14, 2020 - Architecture - 288 pages

Offers architects and creative services professionals exclusive insights and strategies for success from the former CEO of HOK.

Designing a World Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories and Strategies Behind HOK tells the history of one of the largest design firms in the world and draws lessons from it that can help other architects, interior designers, urban planners and creative services professionals grow bigger or better. Former HOK CEO Patrick MacLeamy shares the revolutionary strategies HOK’s founders deployed to create a brand-new type of architecture firm. He pulls no punches, revealing the triple crisis that almost bankrupted HOK and describes how any firm can survive and thrive.

Designing a World Class Architecture Firm tells the inside story of many of HOK’s most iconic buildings, including the National Air and Space Museum, Moscone Convention Center, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Houston Galleria and the reimagined LaGuardia Airport. Each chapter conveys lessons learned from HOK’s successes —and failures— including:

  • The importance of diversifying to depression-and-recession-proof your firm
  • The benefit of organizing your firm around specialized leaders and project types
  • The difference between leading and managing your people
  • The value of simple financial metrics to ensure your firm’s health and profitability
  • The “run toward trouble” strategy which prevents problems from ballooning

MacLeamy delivers his advice via inspirational stories such as how HOK survived when its home office in St. Louis went up in flames and humorous stories, like the time an HOK executive was mistaken for royalty on a trip to Saudi Arabia. In this tell-all guide, the driven architecture or design professional will find the tools needed to evolve or grow any firm.

 

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Contents

A New Kind of Architecture Firm
9
Innovate Early and Often
21
Company Culture Is Crucial
33
Project Offices
41
Many Jobs One Firm
47
Managing Versus Leading
57
Succession Planning
67
SECTION TWO The Obata Era 19821993
77
Buying Firms
145
Enforcing Financial Metrics
153
The Second Generation
161
SECTION FOUR The MacLeamy Era 20032016
169
Empowering Firm Leadership
179
The Effort Curve
189
Fixing Offices
197
Fixing Central Services
205

Run Toward Trouble
87
Project Specialists
93
Selling Stock to Investors
101
Hiring Family
109
SECTION THREE The Sincoff Era 19932002
115
A FirmWide Role
127
Embracing Technology
135
Buying Your Freedom
219
The Third Generation
225
The Right to Dream
231
HOK Today
241
About the Author
247
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

PATRICK MACLEAMY, FAIA, worked his way up from junior designer to CEO of HOK, a global architecture, engineering, and planning firm, where he worked for 50 years. A self-taught executive, MacLeamy loved designing a firm just as much as he loved designing buildings. He is best known in the design and construction industry as the creator of the "MacLeamy Curve," which advocates front-loading effort during the design process to catch errors early. A pioneer in leveraging technology to support design quality, MacLeamy is chairman of buildingSMART International (bSI) where he pushes tirelessly for the global implementation of building information modeling (BIM).

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