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During the downturn, New York’s architecture firms struggled to cope with declining business by cutting staff and shrinking overhead.
Now, with the city enjoying a real estate resurgence, firms are trying to figure out how to manage growth.
Many firms have been adding staff members to handle an increasing volume of commercial and residential projects, as well as office remodeling jobs and work from wealthy foreigners who are investing hefty sums in New York real estate.
But expanding operations, at times, comes with a cost. Firms with distinct design styles have had to decide whether to take on new clients, hire up and risk diluting their expertise, or turn down work to maintain their dynamic.
“We don’t want to hire just a bunch of bodies,” said Joe Brancato, co-regional managing principal of Gensler, an international architecture and design firm with 5,000 employees.
Gensler has almost doubled its New York office in the past five years to 602 employees, Mr. Brancato said. The firm once focused on corporate interiors but now has a broader range of projects in its portfolio, including a $48 million pet-and-livestock terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and mixed-use projects that integrate spaces where people live, work and play. […]