HKS Opens New Office in Austin
HKS has opened a new office in Austin, the firm’s 25th overall. A leader among international architecture and design firms and one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Architecture Firms in 2022, HKS is recognized for its unique ability to create and deliver environments of distinction through award-winning architectural, planning, interior design, research, and commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governance). Since 1981, HKS has been a part of designing more than 200 Austin-based projects including Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, JW Marriott Convention Center Hotel, The Bowie and Aloft and Element.
The Austin office will be led by noted local designers Chi Lee and Brad Wilkins with an initial staff of 25, instantly making the new office one of the most formidable design studios in the state. The Austin team’s reputation as an intellectual force, coupled with project experience spanning 27 million square feet across the great city of Austin and a world-class portfolio means they’ll be statement-makers on day one.
“The chance to open and lead the Austin studio for the largest Texas-based architecture firm is a tremendous opportunity,” said Chi Lee, principal, and office director for HKS in Austin. “HKS is a dominant player on the global stage in its commitment to ESG with some fantastic examples in the portfolio. Thoughtful and sustainable urban planning is what Brad Wilkins and I have dedicated our careers to. Joining HKS to further this track will be professionally rewarding and with an aim to create places that offer a sense of creativity and belonging for the Austin community.”
Currently, HKS has more than 50 projects in design or under construction in the Austin market, including Domain 9, the Dell Children’s Medical Center expansion and key projects in the Rainey Street District including the River Street Residences and 98 Red River. The team will initially utilize temporary office space while determining the best space to lease that matches client and employee needs.
Chi Lee came to Austin in 2004 and has spent the past 18 years focusing on the urban development of the community. His projects reach across student housing, public transit and commercial infrastructure while his leadership roles and volunteer work have made an impressive mark on the city.
Brad Wilkins will serve as the studio design leader for the Austin office and brings an extensive portfolio of more than 100 projects that span 20 countries. While skyscraper design – specifically supertall and mixed-use skyscrapers – are a specialty of his, Wilkins’ passion for urban planning, energy efficiency, resiliency master planning, clean technology, and transit-oriented design are all key factors in harnessing the energy of the new office.