Perkins&Will Announces Leadership Transition in its L.A. Studio
Richard Marshall, in his new role as Managing Director, commits to focusing on equity
A new year has ushered in new leadership for the Los Angeles studio of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will. Richard Marshall, an accomplished designer who led the firm’s international strategy for the last eight years, was appointed to the role of managing director in January. As part of his plan to strengthen the Perkins&Will brand in the City of Angels and reinforce the studio’s connection to L.A. culture, Marshall is making social and environmental equity one of the hallmarks of his term.
“I’m thrilled to join a studio that designs projects that vary so greatly, from large hospitals to civic and public spaces, especially in communities that have historically been marginalized by underinvestment,” Marshall says. “I look forward to expanding our portfolio even more—with a continued focus on supporting an enhanced and equitable quality of life for all.”
An avid urbanist, Marshall has dedicated his career to helping transform cities through design. His first 100 days as managing director will be devoted to listening, he says—to clients, to community members, and to staff.
“As a business leader, but also as a workplace culture leader, my number one priority is getting to know the issues. I need to understand the greater forces at play within our studio and in the greater community, the nuances that make L.A. tick, the qualities that make this city and the region unique.”
He notes that part of that exercise involves learning from and building on the successes of other L.A. studio leaders: Eric Aukee, who preceded Marshall as managing director and now serves as principal-at-large; Jean Mah, the firm’s global health practice leader; Leigh Christy, who oversees many of the studio’s public- and private-sector projects; and Gabrielle Bullock, the firm’s director of global diversity.
“I’ve known Richard for 9 years and have had the pleasure of working with him in a global capacity over that time,” Bullock says. “I am confident he will lead our studio with empathy and understanding.”
Over the course of his 25-year career, Marshall’s cultural competence and empathic approach to design have opened doors for him—and his clients—all around the world. Recognized for his ability to connect meaningfully with people of cultures and communities outside his own, he is regularly tapped for leadership roles in places as varied as Australia, China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few. Notably, he was instrumental in designing and delivering projects for the most high-profile sporting event in the world—the Olympic Games—including overlay for Sydney 2000, the Central Spine for Beijing 2008, and the urban regeneration strategy for London 2012.
In his prior role as International Strategy Director, Marshall led the growth of Perkins&Will’s practices in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, and was instrumental in realizing clients’ visions on culturally nuanced projects on nearly every continent.
“My ultimate goal is to reinforce the L.A. studio’s reputation for excellence in healthcare and institutional projects, while also opening new opportunities for us in commercial and public markets,” Marshall says. “I plan to do that by ensuring we weave social and environmental equity into every aspect of our work—from relationship-building to community engagement, design and construction to delivery. I look forward to building a bright and inclusive future with my colleagues and our clients.”
Marshall holds a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Architecture from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). He has served as Associate Professor and Director of Urban Design Degree Programs at Harvard GSD; as Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at Tongji University in Shanghai; and as Adjunct Professor in Architecture at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of four books: Hong Kong – Defining the Edge (2000); Waterfronts in Post Industrial Cities (2001); Emerging Urbanity – Global Urban Projects in the Asia Pacific Rim (2003); and Designing the American City (2003).
Perkins&Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, was founded in 1935 on the belief that design has the power to transform lives. Guided by its core values—design excellence, diversity and inclusion, research, resilience, social purpose, sustainability, and well-being—the firm is committed to designing a better, more beautiful world. Fast Company named Perkins&Will one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture, and industry rankings consistently place Perkins&Will among the world’s top design practices. With an international team of more than 2,000 professionals, the firm has over 20 studios worldwide, providing integrated services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Partners include Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen; retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit www.perkinswill.com.