Gensler is a global design and architecture firm. Organized into 16 diverse practice areas covering a broad spectrum of industry sectors, Gensler delivers a range of project types for clients around the world. In 2017, Gensler generated $1.197 billion in revenue, the most of any architecture firm in the United States. As of 2018, Gensler operated offices in 48 cities in 16 countries worldwide, working for clients in over 100 countries.
Art Gensler, along with his wife Drue Gensler and their associate James Follett, founded the firm in 1965. They originally focused on corporate interiors, pioneering interiors for newly constructed office buildings, including the Alcoa Building (1967) and the Bank of America Building (1969), both in San Francisco. The firm has since diversified into numerous forms of architecture and design, including commercial office buildings, retail centers, airports, education facilities, entertainment complexes, planning and urban design, mission-critical facilities, consulting, brand design, and other areas.
Gensler grew rapidly with offices opening around the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s and then overseas in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1972, the firm established an office in Houston to provide interior design services for Pennzoil Company's 600,000-sq-ft corporate headquarters. In 1979, the firm opened its New York office to provide interior design and production services for Mobil Oil Corporation's corporate headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1988, the firm launched its first overseas office in London, followed by new offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong in 1993. In 2002, Gensler opened an office in Shanghai, establishing a permanent presence in China. By the early 2000s, Gensler was the largest architecture and design company headquartered in the U.S.
In 2005, Gensler's Board of Directors extended the firm's collaborative leadership structure by naming Andy Cohen, Diane Hoskins, and David Gensler as Executive Directors/Co-CEOs. Cohen and Hoskins continue their tenure as Co-CEOs.
As the firm's global footprint has grown, Gensler has launched megaprojects such as CityCenter (Gensler served as Executive Architect of the 67-acre, 18 million-square-foot "city within a city" in Las Vegas), SFO Airport (beginning with the Central Terminal project in 1980 and continuing with comprehensive T2, T3, and T1 renovations), and Shanghai Tower (a 128-story mixed-use tower). In 2013, the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower became China's tallest building, and the second-tallest in the world.
In 1990, Gensler established Gensler University, the firm's chief platform for leadership development. Subsequently, the firm established the Diversity Scholarship, a juried program that recognizes emerging talent among African-American college students enrolled in an accredited architectural program, and the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, a gifted interior designer and former partner at Gensler. In 2007, the firm established its gServe community impact program. Gensler's Community Impact program encourages offices to dedicate at least 80 percent of their Community Impact resources to one or more of four themes: Housing and Homelessness, Health and Wellness, the Environment, and the Next Generation.
In 2005, Gensler debuted its first U.K. Workplace Survey, followed by a U.S. Workplace Survey in 2006, and the formal establishment of the Gensler Research program in 2007. The firm launched subsequent U.S. & U.K. Workplace Surveys in 2008, 2013, and 2016. Gensler's Workplace Surveys now encompass four continents, with the Asia Workplace Survey 2016, and Latin America Workplace Survey 2017. In 2010, Gensler's research program secured a registered trademark for its Workplace Performance Index (WPI), a trademarked pre- and post-occupancy tool. In 2017, Gensler celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Gensler Research Program (now the Gensler Research Institute) with the publication of Gensler's Research Catalogue, Volume 2. In 2017, the firm launched the Gensler Experience Index, which quantifies the direct impact design has on experience, followed by industry reports in the Retail and Hospitality sectors.
In 2016, Gensler signed the Paris Pledge for Action at the COP21 conference, pledging to reduce carbon emissions to limit climate change to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Gensler's "Impact Through Design" report, launched in 2016, explores strategies for architecture and design to play a greater role in global climate change strategy and mitigation, reinforcing this commitment to sustainability with the firm's subsequent "Impact by Design" reports in 2017 and 2018.