Is Bigger Better? HOK’s Acquisition of 360 Architecture and How Mergers Have Changed the Business of Design

Master Plan. Image Courtesy of HOK

International design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK has recently announced its plan to acquire 360 Architecture, a firm specializing in sports facility design. With HOK’s global influence and ’s expertise, the acquisition could bring about significant advances in sports facility design and expand the market reach for each firm. When it comes to the business of architecture, acquisitions such as this often enable large corporate firms to take on a wider variety of projects, giving them a competitive edge against famous designer names in the industry. But what else can we learn from the growth of the world’s largest firms?

Baku Flame Towers / HOK

© Farid Khayrulin

Architects: HOK
Location: ,
Area: 234500.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Farid Khayrulin

Video: Autoban Design For Heydar Aliyev International Airport

Our friends at Crane.tv have brought you the designers of a fascinating new addition to Azerbaijan’s booming architectural landscape. Istanbul based design firm Autoban undertook the immense challenge to design the entire interior of , Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport. Following the commitment that “architecture and interior design should tell the same story,” the firm drew inspiration from the structure and form of the building, one of many that, thanks to such stars as Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center and HOK’s Flame Towers, is putting Baku on the global architectural map. Valuing hospitality and the beauty of experience, Autoban designs a terminal that encourages the soaring building to embrace the intimate human scale.

HOK Proposes East London Thames Crossing

© /Arup

Nearly half of London’s population lives east of Tower yet they are served by only two fixed road river crossings,” says Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). This is the infrastructural predicament which has sparked the LCCI’s “Bridge East London” campaign, a proposal for bridge linking Beckton and Thamesmead at Gallions Reach, which is aided by a design by HOK.

The proposal was unveiled on Monday, the 120th anniversary of the opening of Tower Bridge. Designed to allow clear passage for both ships underneath and aircraft taking off or landing at City Airport above, the bridge also features a segregated cycle path, adding a much needed - and entirely safe – river crossing for London’s growing number of cyclists.

More on the bridge after the break

HOK Selected to Refurbish Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster via Wikipedia

Correction: The -team has been appointed to appraise the options for refurbishment and has not yet been commissioned for the work itself. 

HOK, in collaboration with Aecom and Deloitte, has been selected from a shortlist of five to lead the £720m refurbishment of ’s Palace of Westminster. As reported by BDOnline, the grade I listed building will now undergo a feasibility study before work begins. The plan is to modernize the mid-1800s palace, which was originally designed by Sir Charles Barry with the help of Augustus Pugin. This will include upgrading all HVAC systems and improving fire safety, as well restoring the cast iron roofs and deteriorating stone exterior.

Dubai Wins World Expo 2020 Bid with HOK-Designed Master Plan

Courtesy of HOK

has been selected as the host city for the 2020 World Expo, besting bids from Turkey, Brazil and Russia. This means HOK will now move forward as lead designer by refining the site’s 438-hectare master plan, which was inspired by Dubai’s “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” Expo theme. 

“This win is a testament to the commitment of the UAE citizens to create a prosperous future for their country and region,” said Daniel Hajjar, HOK’s management principal in Dubai. “We are proud to have been the lead designer of the Expo site and to be associated with producing a winning entry for the UAE so that this great country can continue to boost its reputation on a global stage.”

More than 25 million is expected to attend during the Expo’s short, six month duration. This will be the first time a Middle Eastern city to host this international exhibition in its 160-year history. Read on for more details on HOK’s design.

BBC New Broadcasting House / HOK

Courtesy of

Architects: HOK, MacCormac Jamieson Prichard, Sheppard Robson
Location: , England, United Kingdom
Area: 484.375 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of HOK

University at Buffalo’s Downtown Medical School Proposal / HOK

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HOK recently unveiled their design for the state-of-the-art medical school and integrated transit station at the University at Buffalo‘s Downtown Medical School, which will anchor the vibrant mixed-use district. Designed for the new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the seven-story medical school will bring 2,000 UB faculty, staff and students daily to downtown and, at more than 500,000-square-feet, will be one of the largest buildings constructed in in decades. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Istanbul International Financial Center Master Plan / HOK

Courtesy of

Integral to ’s plan to make its economy one of the world’s 10 largest by 2023, the HOK-designed master plan for the Istanbul International Financial Center (IIFC) is now in construction. Built on a 170-acre site on the city’s Asian side, the Turkish government’s goal for the landmark IIFC project is to establish Istanbul as a global center for finance. The IIFC will house the head offices of the country’s financial market governing bodies, state-owned and private banks, and related businesses. It will include approximately 45 million square feet of office, residential, retail, conference, hotel and park space. More images and architects’ description after the break.

AIA appoints Mary Ann Lazarus to lead Sustainability and Health Initiative

Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader , FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow.  In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in sustainability and health as the AIA implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.  The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks.  It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.

More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.

NACO and HOK Win Expansion Contract for Riyadh Airport

NACO’s master plan for King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, . will now use the master plan to design the expansion of the airport © NACO

NACO, its Saudi Arabian branch SADECO, and global architect HOK were just awarded the contract to design the expansion of King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The design consists of the expansion of the existing terminals 3 and 4, which will enable the airport to handle 20-25 million passengers per year. Currently, the 30-year-old airport is handling approximately 15 million passengers annually. NACO, Netherlands Airport Consultants, a Royal HaskoningDHV company, and HOK will lead the design team for this prestigious project. More architects’ description and their press release after the break.

New Global Hub for Biomedical Research / HOK

Courtesy of

HOK was recently selected as lead architect for the Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC) near Palermo, Sicily in Southern . The $269 million world-class research facility at 334,000-square-feet will be a global hub for biomedical research and development. The ultimate goal is to prevent or cure diseases while improving the quality of life and life expectancy of patients. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Top 50 U.S. Architecture Firms

NASCAR Hall of Fame / Pei Cobb Freed & Partners © Paul Warchol

ARCHITECT Magazine has released their fourth annual ranking of the most “powerful, philanthropic, talented and profitable” architecture firms in the . Don’t be fooled, this doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest firms, as the survey uses the broadest possible criteria to allow practices, both small and large, the opportunity to compete and be recognized.

Firms are ranked by profitability, and design quality. For the first time this year, the survey included pro bono work and water modeling in response to the challenging realities of the economy, natural disasters and drought.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 66% of the firms reported an increase in their net revenue from 2010 to 2011. No surprise there, when considering the slow, overall improvement of the ABI (check out the latest ABI report here).

And now, the Top 50 US Firms are…

Amtrak and HOK unveils design for new Washington Union Station

View from H Street – Courtesy of

A national landmark and one of the busiest multimodal transportation hubs in the country, Washington Union Station, designed by Daniel Burnham, is about to undergo some significant changes. The 1907 station is currently operating beyond capacity, serving 100,000 passenger trips per day on Amtrak and commuter trains, Metrorail and buses. Over the next 15 to 20 years, passengers are expected to triple and the number of trains will double, so change is necessary in order to accommodate this growth.

HOK, in collaboration with Amtrak and Parsons Brinckerhoff, have unveiled a plan to revitalize the station and bring it up to 21st century standards. Continue after the break for more.

University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences / HOK

Courtesy of

HOK was recently selected to design the new University at (UB) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on its downtown campus upon winning a global design ideas competition. Located at the center of the region’s emerging bio-sciences corridor, this new transit-oriented medical school development will anchor a lively, urban mixed-use district on campus and bring 1,200 students, faculty and staff downtown. With the goal of fostering collaboration and interdisciplinary care, the new academic medical center will create connections that allow students, faculty, biomedical researchers and clinicians to move easily from classroom to bedside to lab. More images and archtiects’ description after the break.

Great Pier / !melk + UrbanLab + HOK

Courtesy of

The competition for re-imagining Chicago’s historic Navy Pier has produced some ambitious examples of design ingenuity and innovation.  Feeding off of Daniel Burnham’s memorable quote “make no little plans”, this proposal comes from a design team led by !melkprinciple Jerry Van Eyck, UrbanLab and HOK - a series of “dramatic ideas to  reconceptualize Chicago’s preeminent exclamation point extending from the Great Lakes to the world”.  The intention behind this proposal is to provide a dynamic place in a historic area that provides a cultural landmark as well as a world-wide attraction that stems from the geological history of the site itself.

Follow us after the break for a more in-depth look at this project.

USGBC partners with HOK to design Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center

Aerial © HOK

Marking the two year anniversary of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in , we would like to share with you the important efforts of Project Haiti – a LEED Platinum orphanage and children’s center that is planned to be built in Port au Prince, Haiti. The project is lead by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and their official pro-bono design partner, HOK. Project Haiti not only focuses on the children, but also aims to create a “replicable, resilient model for rebuilding” that may serve as a practical teaching tool for the local community. The USGBC motto states, “Every story about green building is a story about people.”

Porsche’s New U.S. Headquarters and Customer Experience Center / HOK

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HOK has been selected to design Porsche Cars North America’s new headquarters in , following an intense design competition. This innovative development includes a contemporary workplace, a Technical Service and Training Center, and a Customer and Driver Experience Center with an integrated road handling track. The dynamic design embraces the on-site road handling track, celebrating the Porsche driving experience at every turn. More images and project description after the break.