The team will be led by two new appointments: Mike Storey, who was a director of London-based architect Norman + Dawbarn, and Ian Mulcahey, previously a development specialist with Arup Associates.
The residential operation is already working on a 15-house development in London’s upmarket St John’s Wood for Taylor Woodrow, and is looking at projects in Birmingham, central London and Scotland.
Storey said the expansion was intended to meet a number of goals. It would help to free Gensler from its interiors-and-offices tag, and would allow the practice to respond to the growing demand for schemes with a residential element.
Storey said that he and Tony Harbour, Gensler’s managing director, were aware of a shift in the market towards mixed use. He said: “I saw more and more housing projects with an element of other uses and Tony was finding the same with commercial office projects.
“Government policy is driving things in that direction and we thought it would be a tremendous opportunity to combine the two capabilities.”
The move is also in tune with the practice’s strategy of finding work through building long-term relationships with clients, rather than by winning competitions. “The Gensler approach is to follow its clients as they go along. We want to build a reputation for residential work,” said Storey.
Storey brought a number of Norman + Dawbarn clients with him, including Taylor Woodrow.
Storey said the masterplanning division would create opportunities for Gensler. He said: “You can get a lot of early leads and larger schemes through masterplanning.”
Gensler has recently completed a speculative 22 000 m2 office building in Broadgate West, near Liverpool Street, for Gemini Commercial Investments, and an 11-storey office block for Canary Wharf Group in Columbus Courtyard.
- Work is due to start on the Gensler’s design for the £800m GCHQ in Cheltenham by the end of this week.