Fulton East is a $26 million, 12-story office tower in Chicago’s West Loop. This was one of the first projects that two architectural firms, Lamar Johnson Collaborative (LJC) and BatesForum, worked on jointly.
This week, the firms announced that they had combined to create one business entity with 240-plus professionals and five offices. But the firms had a previous connection in that St. Louis-based BatesForum was 50%-owned by the contracting company Clayco after Clayco merged Bates with its Forum Studio subsidiary in March 2018; and Chicago-based LJC is a Clayco subsidiary, which the contractor acquired in October 2018.
“The future of design is integrated,” says Clayco CEO and founder Bob Clark. “Our integrated delivery model will set a new standard by completely disrupting the inefficiency of the traditional paradigm of design-bid-build.”
Lamar Johnson, CEO of his eponymous firm, adds that this combination is a response to a design-bid-build construction model “that needs to change.” Johnson believes that the combined firm will be better able to draw upon Clayco’s “deep bench of resources and industry leading technology.”
Among the expanded firm’s capabilities are its Technical Assurance Group (TAG), which consults with project teams to apply lessons from the built environment to projects still on the drawing board; and the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) team, which provides BIM support for the use of integrated models and provides collaboration space for real-time decision-making by owners.
The combined firm exceeds 200 active architecture and design projects in 24 states. Together with Clayco, the overall construction value of active integrated delivery projects exceeds $4 billion. Its client list includes Farpoint Development, Pfizer, Mercy, Brookfield Properties, Blackstone Realty, Levy Restaurants, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Sterling Bay, and The John Buck Company.
The larger LJC will also continue the tradition of civic and community engagement practiced by the firm and Clayco. In the past, it has lent financial support to such organizations as the United Way and Cristo Rey High School.