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STUDIOAXIS Refreshes Brand and Expands Offerings by Opening Two New Offices in Asia

by: Jack Quigley
Almost three decades and more than 50 AIA design awards later, Axis Architecture is announcing a refreshed brand and expanded offerings by opening two new offices in Asia – Bangaluru, India, and Bangkok, Thailand.

Drew White, Co-Founder and Partner at STUDIOAXIS said the company’s new name will better reflect the firm’s personalized, highly skilled approach for clients, from concept to completion.

“When we started our practice 27 years ago, the notion of design was primary,” White said. “We saw even then that the marketplace here in Indianapolis didn't treat design as being primary. And so, there was an automatic niche for us to fit into.”

Kevin Cooper, Co-Founder and Partner at STUDIOAXIS, said the firm has evolved during the past decade into taking on larger-scale projects.

“In our first 10 years, we did a lot of small projects. And then as we grew, we grew with people, and the number of small and medium-sized projects continued to increase,” Cooper said. “Our goal was to not just grow with people, but to also grow with size of projects and start to land larger, more meaningful projects.”

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Recent STUDIOAXIS projects like the TCU Amphitheater have showcased the firm’s capacity to successfully design large-scale projects with a unique sophistication and attention to detail.

Enhancing Capabilities through Global Expansion
Leading the Bangaluru and Bangkok offices will be Cory Ticktin, a longtime colleague and collaborator of White. In the 1980s, Ticktin and White worked together in Los Angeles at the global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where they collaborated on a myriad of designs for high-profile clients.

Ticktin boasts more than 30 years of experience leading large-scale design projects globally and has established a reputation for excellence across a broad range of building types, including corporate headquarters, higher education campuses, residential projects, retail and entertainment venues, hospitality projects, civic and government buildings, transportation, and public safety complexes.

White said, “Cory and I talked over the years about, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could work together and sort of bring back our SOM days, but at the same time, have a small studio approach to the work and not have it be such a large corporate approach?'”

Ticktin has spent the last 10 years living in southeast Asia, building immense expertise and a group of professionals who admire his leadership and have followed him as he starts his newest venture with STUDIOAXIS.

As the only American working in an office filled with architects born in Eastern countries, Ticktin said his studio offers a unique global perspective that cannot be replicated in most studios.

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“On any project that we're doing globally, we can bring that knowledge to bear in Indianapolis, so clients are getting that international experience,” Ticktin said. “We can also keep projects moving 24 hours a day because of the time change. If we have a project with a quick deadline, or a competition with a quick turnaround, we can work together and do it twice as fast as somebody else can because when the U.S. is at the end of its day, we’re at the beginning of our day.”

With this rebrand, STUDIOAXIS will grow from serving around six market sectors to 12, including expanded capabilities for large master planning that will allow the firm to pursue larger projects regionally and nationally.

“What's so great about this [collaboration] is that we as a studio are very strong at project management and we're great designers. And the studios in India and Thailand have great designers and great management. So, we're going to learn from each other,” White said.

"Cory always makes some great analogies on all this, and one of them is that we're increasing our tool bag,” White said. “If we’re going to the coal mine every day, we have our bag of tools. Our tool bag is increasing with software programs that Asia has been using that we were not using in the past.”

Recruiting and Retaining Talent
STUDIOAXIS leaders envision this global expansion as an opportunity for young architects to discover new methods of design and collaborate on unfamiliar projects.

“We’re behind in trying to retain and keep talent here in the state. We recruit a lot from Ball State, and we recruit regionally in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan,” White said. “We hear so much from Ball State, Ohio State, and Cincinnati about their interns wanting to go to New York City or wanting to go to Los Angeles to work. I think we have a different alternative that should be more exciting, which will allow us to attract the top students.

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Down the road, STUDIOAXIS plans to offer internships in Asia and the U.S. to employees on both sides who want to travel and work.

“For young architects in Indianapolis, it's more interesting to work for a global firm versus an Indianapolis-based firm,” Ticktin said. “The same goes for us too. Thai and Indian architects like to know that they work for an international firm, and they're as interested in going to the U.S. as people in the U.S. may be willing to come here.

One of Ticktin’s employees who lives in France has expressed a strong desire to travel to Indianapolis to work on a fire station project.

“I think that's so cool,” White said. “He's worked on some very, very large projects in his career with Cory, and he keeps telling us, 'I want to work on a fire station in Indianapolis.’ I think there's this notion of scale that makes it attractive on both sides.”

“People in this part of the world still see the U.S. as a leader in many things, and architecture is one of them,” Ticktin said. “If Drew and Kevin offered to bring some of our people over for a month or two, I guarantee you I'd lose them in a heartbeat.

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