DLR Group invests in four key markets

October 12, 2021 2:18 PM EDT

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Acquisition of four design firms amplifies sector expertise and local presence in strategic geographies on both coasts.

Minneapolis, Oct. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DLR Group added specific sector expertise and expanded its local presence in four key markets through strategic acquisitions during the summer of 2021. Adhering to a defined model for growth in existing markets, DLR Group added Salus Architecture (Seattle) and BakerNowicki Design Studio (San Diego) on the West Coast, and Bowie Gridley Architects (Washington, D.C.) and Wright McGraw Beyers Architects (Charlotte) on the East Coast.

“DLR Group’s aim is to be a great design firm, not a big firm. A fundamental part of our growth strategy is adding firms with a focused design expertise in markets where we have an established DLR Group office,” said DLR Group CEO Griff Davenport, FAIA. “The design professionals joining our firm each enhance a core DLR Group sector and add diversity and fresh perspectives to our leadership teams in Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte. And in San Diego, a new location to extend our services to K-12 clients throughout Southern California.”

In May, Healthcare design firm Salus Architecture joined DLR Group in Seattle. Salus is exclusively dedicated to healthcare design, specializing in the delivery of complex acute and ambulatory care facilities.

Salus was founded in 2014 by R. David Frum, FAIA, FACHA; together with Dale Anderson, AIA, EDAC; and Douglas McNutt, AIA. Salus will continue to serve the needs of healthcare clients in the Pacific Northwest as DLR Group|Salus while actively collaborating with DLR Group’s Healthcare studio to enhance healthcare design for clients nationwide.

DLR Group established a presence in San Diego with the acquisition of BakerNowicki in August. Formed in 2011 by architects Jon Baker, FAIA, and Richard Nowicki, AIA, the firm’s sole practice is educational architecture for K-12 and higher education clients. It also brings specific expertise in education funding to benefit all DLR Group K-12 school district clients in California.

The firm will operate as DLR Group|BakerNowicki in the San Diego market and joins with DLR Group K-12 studios in Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, and San Francisco to serve the interests of education clients throughout California. A San Diego office also enhances the ability of DLR Group’s Hospitality, Mixed-Use, Transportation, and Federal Markets teams to meet the needs of local and national clients in the market.  

On the East Coast, Washington, D.C.–based design firm Bowie Gridley joined DLR Group in August. Founded in 1981 by Calvert S. Bowie, AIA, and William C. Gridley, FAIA, Bowie Gridley specializes in master planning and design for K-12 independent school clients along the Atlantic Coast and throughout the Northeast.

Bowie Gridley’s focused expertise in master planning and design of K-12 independent school campuses are a natural complement to DLR Group’s globally leading K-12 Education practice. It will operate as DLR Group|Bowie Gridley in its core independent school market and will join with DLR Group’s existing Washington, D.C. office in a new location to establish a firm of 65 design professionals.

Also in August, DLR Group further enhanced its healthcare design capabilities with the addition of Charlotte-based healthcare design firm Wright McGraw Beyer Architects (WMBA). Established in 1996, founders Todd McGraw, NCARB, and John Beyer, AIA, built a firm that practices exclusively in healthcare. WMBA specializes in planning, design, and interiors for acute care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, behavioral health, bio-medical centers, and medical office buildings for health systems across the Southeast.

DLR Group established a Charlotte office in 2016 that provides K-12 Education, Higher Education, Performing Arts, Sports, and Workplace design for public and private clients in the region. WMBA and DLR Group will merge operations to create a 45-person Charlotte office.

“With the addition of these firms, DLR Group is a demonstrably better design firm. And as is always the case, culture is the most import consideration when you bring firms together,” said Davenport. “I firmly believe our design cultures align in so many ways. Joining DLR Group with Salus Architecture, BakerNowicki, Bowie Gridley, and WMBA is great news for the current and future employee-owners of DLR Group.”

As the design industry evolves, DLR Group’s multi-discipline, integrated design approach is appealing to firm leaders seeking scale to improve their competitive position in both local markets and core sectors. DLR Group offers those firms access to in-house structural and MEP engineering, interiors, high performance design, acoustics, lighting, advanced design technology, and the full suite of design resources available within a 1,200-person design firm.

DLR Group is a 100% employee-owned firm. The employee-ownership opportunity for staff also provides firm leaders with a proven method of ownership transition to ensure a firm’s design legacy as part of DLR Group. All the design professionals joining the firm will have the opportunity to purchase stock in DLR Group in December during the firm’s annual stock exchange.

About DLR Group

DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive reuse. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group is 100 percent employee-owned and fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge and is an initial signatory to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment.

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