In 2020, we’re celebrating 85 years of making the world a better, more beautiful place. We invite you to explore a timeline of some of the most defining moments in our firm’s history.

1935

Lawrence (Larry) B. Perkins and Philip (Phil) Will, Jr. co-found an architecture firm in Chicago, Illinois and call it “Perkins & Will.”

1936

Todd Wheeler joins the firm, changing the name to “Perkins, Wheeler & Will.”

1937

Phil Will designs his own home in Evanston, Illinois, one of his most prized projects. It is the recipient of a National Award from General Electric.

1938

The firm partners with Eliel and Eero Saarinen and, together, they are awarded the Crow Island School project.

1939

By now, the firm has created a name for itself in residential architecture, having designed over 50 houses—many in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

1940

Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois is completed and celebrated widely for its innovative, human-centered design.

1942

Larry and Phil work for Eliel Saarinen in Birmingham, Michigan to design housing for employees of the Ford Willow Run Bomber Plant.

1945

The Second World War ends. Larry and Phil develop a marketing strategy rooted in their belief that architecture should improve people’s lives.

1946

The firm moves to 309 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, Illinois, where the staff quadruples to almost 25 people.

1947

The firm hires its first staff structural engineer.

 

The firm receives its first Architectural Award, a Design Citation from Progressive Architecture for Indian Lake School in Barrington, Illinois. 

1948

Architect William Brubaker is hired for the summer.

1949

Rugen Elementary School receives an AIA National Merit Award. 

 

Cornell University becomes the firm’s first higher education client.

1951

The firm continues to grow. We establish mechanical and electrical engineering departments in Chicago, as well as a regional architectural design office in White Plains, New York.

1953

We design our first $1M building—Keokuk High School—in Keokuk, Iowa, and complete Heathcote Elementary School—an important post-war project—in Scarsdale, New York.

1954

Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma  and Keokuk High School earn AIA National Honor Awards.

 

Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Illinois—our first large healthcare project—is completed.

1957

We complete our first high-rise office building, the Lutheran Brotherhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1960

Our 25th Anniversary! Also, eight interior designers in our Chicago studio form “ISD Incorporated” (Interior Space Design).

 

International Minerals and Chemical Corporation in Skokie, Illinois is awarded an AIA National Merit Award.

1962

We establish a design studio in Washington, D.C.

1963

Work begins on our first significant international project—the National College of Agriculture in Chapingo, Mexico.

1964

We win the commission for the First National Bank of Chicago (along with C.F. Murphy Associates), the tallest bank structure and the world’s tallest skyscraper outside of New York at its completion.

 

The book “Hospital Design & Function” by E. Todd Wheeler is published.

1971

We establish a presence in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and open a design studio in New York City.

 

Crow Island School is awarded the prestigious AIA 25-Year Award for a “design of enduring significance.”

1972

Larry Perkins and Todd Wheeler retire.

1973

We open an office in Tehran, Iran to support the design and delivery of the Iranzamin Tehran International School.

1974

The Standard Oil Building in Chicago, Illinois is the tallest building in Chicago, and the fourth tallest building in the world at its completion.

1975

Larry Perkins earns the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of School Administrators. He is the first person employed outside the education field ever to receive the award.

1980

We open a design studio in San Francisco, California.

1983

Ralph Johnson is named “Young Architect of 1983” by the Chicago AIA, and William Brubaker is named “Planner of the Year.”

1984

333 W. Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois, for which we are the associate architect alongside KPF, wins an AIA National Honor Award, strengthening our corporate practice.

1985

With a staff of 250, we celebrate the firm’s 50th Anniversary.

 

Phil Will passes away.

1986

We become part of global design and engineering firm Dar Al-Handasah. 

1987

E. Todd Wheeler, a pioneer in healthcare architecture, passes away.

1989

Desert View Elementary School in Sunland Park, New Mexico earns an AIA National Honor Award.

1990

New York-based architectural firm Russo & Sonders joins our firm.

1993

The International Terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport is completed.

 

The office tower 100 North Riverside in Chicago, Illinois wins an AIA National Honor Award.

1994

Troy High School in Troy, Michigan receives an AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture.

1995

The firm enters a period of significant growth through strategic partnerships, acquiring the following firms over the span of 14 years: Nix Mann & Associates; Nix Mann Shive; The Wheeler Group; DTS Shaw Associates; Marsters & Partners; Eva Maddox Branded Environments; CRa; B2HK; Busby & Associates; Ai; MBT; Fuller & Associates; CNI; Rozeboom Miller Architects; Guenther 5; The Environments Group; SMWM; and Shore Tilbe Irwin and Partners.

1996

Perry Community Education Village in Perry, Ohio receives AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture.

1997

Larry Perkins passes away.

1999

We earn the AIA Firm of the Year Award.

 

Henry Mann takes the helm.

2002

Chicago Tribune Pressroom (Tribune Interactive) in Chicago, Illinois receives the AIA Institute Honor Award for Interiors.

2003

Phil Harrison becomes President and CEO.

2004

The firm rebrands as “Perkins+Will.”

 

Skybridge in Chicago, Illinois receives the AIA Honor Award for Architecture.

 

City of White Rock Operations Building is awarded an AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award.

2005

Contemporaine in Chicago, Illinois receives the AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture. 

2007

Interior for Haworth Chicago Showroom in Chicago, Illinois receives the AIA Institute Honor Award.

2008

We win the CoreNet Sustainable Leadership Award for Sustainable Development.

 

Haworth Headquarters in Holland, Michigan earns the Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business” Award.

 

We win the AIA Architecture for Justice National Merit Award for both Fort Worth Police Station and Dallas South Central Police Station. 

 

The Treasure Island Masterplan in San Francisco, California wins the AIA National Honor Award. 

 

We take home the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Award for both Great River Energy and Synergy at Dockside Green. 

 

Pierre-Yves Rochon, a luxury hospitality design firm, based in Paris, France, joins our family of partner companies.

2009

We publish the industry’s first peer-reviewed research journal.

2010

We earn the distinction of being the first ever architecture firm to receive a National Building Museum Honor Award for Civic Innovation.

 

Toronto-based architecture firm Shore Tilbe Irwin and Partners joins our firm.

2011

Ontario-based Vermeulen Hind Architects and Seattle-based Hinthorne Mott join our firm.

2012

We develop the first comprehensive resilience consensus standard, RELi, with the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS).

 

1315 Peachtree Street wins the AIA/COTE Top Ten Projects Award.

 

Boston-based Signer Harris Architects, Washington D.C.-based Envision Design, and London-based Pringle Brandon join Perkins+Will.

 

We also form a partnership with Sao Paulo-based Rocco Vidal + arquitetos.

2013

Fast Company names us one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture.

2014

Florida International University’s Stempel Complex opens, designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes.

 

Gabrielle Bullock becomes our firm’s first Director of Global Diversity.

 

The Freelon Group, based in North Carolina, joins our firm.

2015

Fast Company names us one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture.

 

We announce the launch of several Research Labs, including Energy, Material Performance, Resilience, Human Experience (Hx), Mobility, Building Technology, and Design Process.

 

Portland Design Associates, a retail strategy and design consultancy based in London, England, joins our family of partner companies.

2016

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C.; Phil Freelon serves as lead architect.

 

The American Society of Interior Designers’ new headquarters opens in Washington, D.C. and is the first project to achieve both LEED-CI Platinum and WELL Platinum Certification.

 

Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre earns the Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business” Award.

 

We become the first company to adopt Fitwel, a government-backed rating system for healthier workplaces.

 

Sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard joins our family of partner companies.

2017

U.S. Green Building Council adopts RELi as its resilient design rating system.

 

Our Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle studios earn the Architectural Record “Good Design is Good Business” Award.

 

Denver-based architecture firm Sink Combs Dethlefs joins our firm, expanding our Sports and Recreation practice.

2018

We are honored with two national Healthcare Design Awards by the AIA’s Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth

 

Albion Library wins the AIA / COTE Top Ten Award.

 

Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre wins the AIA Education Facility Design Award.

 

Fast Company names us one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture.

 

Danish design firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Texas-based Lauckgroup join our firm.

2019

We rebrand as “Perkins and Will,” ushering in a new visual identity and voice. Our new mark reintroduces an ampersand as a nod to our legacy.

 

San Francisco-based Pfau Long Architects and London-based Penoyre & Prasad join our firm.

 

Phil Freelon, “America’s humanitarian architect” and one of the most significant African American architects in history, passes away.

 

We’re named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

 

Our bi-annual Research Journal celebrates 10 years and 20 issues.

 

Albion Public Library wins the AIA/ALA Library Building Award.

2020

Gabrielle Bullock, Director of Global Diversity, wins Whitney M. Young Jr., for commitment to diversity.

 

We announce the opening of our new studio in Monterrey, Mexico.

 

Our international team comprises over 2,700 professionals across more than 20 studios worldwide.

 

Guided by our core values—design excellence, diversity and inclusion, research, resilience, social purpose, sustainability, and well-being—we’re committed to designing a better, more beautiful world.

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