The Memphis, Tenn.–based office of Boston-based TRO Jung|Brannen has split from its parent firm. The unmerger has resulted in the creation of a new firm, brg3s Architects, that will take a more local tack.
The new firm’s name comes from its six shareholders—Steve Berger, Brett Ragsdale, Susan Golden, and the three S's, Jay Sweeney, Jon Summers and Ed Scharff. "What we really wanted to communicate is the six shareholders who've been a part of this firm for decades are still a part of this firm," managing principal Berger says.
The change has been in the making for a while. "We approached them [at TRO Jung|Brannen] last year and said we really need to get more locally focused," Brett Ragsdale says. The firm’s Memphis roots reach to 1900; significant buildings by the firm over the course of the century include the Shrine Building, the First Tennessee building, the Commercial Appeal building, the Southern College of Optometry, and the Liberty Bowl.
Prior to the 2001 merger with TRO, the Memphis-based firm was known as JMGR, which was then working on medical facilities around the globe. Since the merger, many decisions made in Memphis needed to be approved in Boston—a situation that seemed to lead some of the partners to bristle. TRO|Jung|Brannen wanted the Memphis office to concentrate on large projects within the medical sector. "They didn't encourage us to go after other work,” former Memphis-based TRO Jung|Brannen and JMGR architect Marty Gorman says—even as the local group procured prominent local projects such as the Kroc Center, WKNO's headquarters, and the Memphis Area Transit Authority's South Terminal.
The brg3s partners intend to work with TRO Jung|Brannen on selected projects. “The new relationship will allow us greater autonomy in operations, localizing decision-making in project selection and in controlling costs, while still providing an option to partner with an internationally acclaimed design firm on a project-by-project basis,” Berger says.