“HKS has long been an active member of the Austin community, witnessing the city’s evolution from a lively college town and state capital to one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States,” said Dan Noble, CEO of HKS. “While our firm has a rich history of prominent work here spanning more than four decades, we felt it was critical to solidify our presence in the city. We look forward to putting down roots in Austin.”
The Austin office will be led by noted local designers Chi Lee and Brad Wilkins with an initial staff of 25. The Austin team has project experience spanning 27 million square feet across the city of Austin.
“The chance to open and lead the Austin studio for the largest Texas-based architecture firm is a tremendous opportunity,” said Lee, Principal and Office Director for HKS in Austin. “HKS is a dominant player on the global stage in its commitment to ESG with some fantastic examples in the portfolio. Thoughtful and sustainable urban planning is what Brad Wilkins and I have dedicated our careers to. Joining HKS to further this track will be professionally rewarding and with an aim to create places that offer a sense of creativity and belonging for the Austin community.”
Currently, HKS has more than 50 projects in design or under construction in the Austin market, including Domain 9, the Dell Children’s Medical Center expansion, and key projects in the Rainey Street District including the River Street Residences and 98 Red River. The team will initially utilize temporary office space while determining the best space to lease that matches client and employee needs.
Lee came to Austin in 2004 and has spent the past 18 years focusing on the urban development of the community. His projects reach across student housing, public transit, and commercial infrastructure while his leadership roles and volunteer work have made a mark on the city.
Wilkins will serve as the Studio Design Leader for the Austin office and brings a portfolio of more than 100 projects that span 20 countries. While skyscraper design — specifically supertall and mixed-use skyscrapers — are a specialty of his, Wilkins also has a passion for urban planning, energy efficiency, resiliency master planning, clean technology, and transit-oriented design.
HKS is a team of more than 1,300 architects, interior designers, urban designers, scientists, artists, anthropologists, and other professionals working together across industries and across the globe. HKS has a dedicated research team that discovers processes and ideas to improve outcomes.