F&S Partners merges with SmithGroup

August 11, 2010

F&S Partners, a Dallas, Texas architecture firm specializing in the design of educational, recreational and religious projects, announced today it has merged with SmithGroup, one of the top 10 architecture/engineering firms in the U.S. and a national leader in sustainable design. The 40-person office in Dallas now carries the joint name of SmithGroup/F&S.

SmithGroup/F&S in Dallas provides architecture, interior design and planning to clients throughout Texas and the southwest U.S.  The office will also offer MEP engineering services through the expertise available at SmithGroup offices nationwide.

Founded in 1962 as Fisher and Spillman Architects, F&S Partners has served institutional, private and municipal clients across Texas. With the merger, Robert L. Shaw, Jr., AIA, president of F&S Partners, becomes a SmithGroup vice president and the office director of SmithGroup/F&S.  He also joins SmithGroup’s board of directors.  All of F&S Partners’ employees have been retained and its five principals maintain their management positions.

The merger gives F&S Partners the expanded resources necessary to design larger, more complex projects, while allowing SmithGroup to bring its national expertise in designing higher education, science and technology, health and workplace facilities to clients in Texas.

 “One of the major initiatives in Texas right now is the elevation of its emerging research universities to national status, and we wanted to find a way to help our clients meet this goal by designing the best facilities.  Operating in Dallas as SmithGroup/F&S, we can now offer our clients access to some of the nation’s leading experts in university design and laboratory planning,” said Shaw.

SmithGroup President & CEO Carl Roehling, FAIA, LEED AP, shares Shaw’s optimism for growth in Texas’s higher education market. “F&S Partners has built key client relationships with the largest university systems in Texas,” said Roehling. “We’re confident they’re the right firm to accelerate SmithGroup’s growth in the higher education market.  F&S Partners has an impressive portfolio of recreational facilities, which fits in well with SmithGroup’s student life initiative.”

The merger follows two years of communication and successful collaboration between the two firms. Earlier this year, SmithGroup and F&S Partners teamed up to win several significant healthcare, university and recreation projects in Texas and Arizona.

In February 2009, the two firms joint-ventured and won a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide ongoing architecture and engineering services for various VA North Texas Health Care System projects.  Two months later, SmithGroup and F&S Partners were selected for two multi-million dollar renovation projects at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas: the Marie Hall SimLife Center and Cancer Research Laboratory. The latest new project the two firms teamed to secure is the design of a $10 million community recreation center in Arizona for the City of Avondale.

Collaboration between F&S Partners and SmithGroup actually dates back to the 1970s.   SmithGroup subsidiary JJR, a nationally recognized leader in landscape architecture, planning, urban design, civil engineering and environmental sciences, collaborated with F&S Partners to develop a master plan to guide campus development for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.  In recent years, the firms teamed up to
develop a master plan to guide campus development for Baylor University, Waco, Texas. 

College and university clients who have worked with both firms are enthusiastic about the merger and the opportunities it brings to Texas’ architectural scene.  Mike Ellicott, vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction at the Texas Tech University System, has worked with both SmithGroup and F&S Partners over the past 10 years and long thought the firms’ pairing would be smart. 

“I know both SmithGroup and F&S Partners well and this merger sounds like a match made in heaven," said Ellicott. "Both firms have similar cultures and a strong client focus.  I look forward to great things.”

SmithGroup, which posted 2008 gross revenue of $166.1 million, is the oldest continually operating architecture and engineering firm in the U.S., founded in 1853.  With the addition of the Dallas location, the 800-employee firm now operates 11 offices across the U.S.  A national leader in sustainable, environmentally intelligent design, SmithGroup currently employs 317 LEED accredited professionals and has 32 LEED certified projects, including five with the highest “Platinum” status.  Among its most noteworthy, recently completed projects are the dual LEED Platinum Christman Building, a corporate headquarters in Lansing, Mich.; the LEED Platinum Smart Home at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; and the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Science & Technology Facility, Golden, Colo., the first LEED Platinum federal project.

SmithGroup is designing the California Pacific Medical Center – Cathedral Hill Hospital, a $950 million, 914,000 square-foot, 555-bed hospital using “lean” construction, slated for completion in 2014 in downtown San Francisco.  

F&S Partners, a leading architecture and interior design firm in Texas, has combined innovative design with attention to detail and personal service to create building designs that foster a sense of community and enhance quality of life.  Its most recent design completions in Texas include the $35 million student recreation center addition and renovation at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the $7.2 million renovation of the Texas Tech University College of Engineering’s Livermore Laboratory building, Lubbock; and the new French Family Science, Math & Technology Center, a $15 million LEED Silver building for Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a Catholic college preparatory school.

         
 

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