Today, Detroit-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm SmithGroup announced that Denver-based higher education facilities planning firm Paulien & Associates has joined the practice. As part of this move, SmithGroup has opened a Denver office, which will be home to a higher education and health studio.
Over the last decade, SmithGroup and Paulien—which operates with a staff of eight—have collaborated on 30 higher education practices, according to firm leaders, making this move a natural next step. Additionally, this partnership will help SmithGroup to establish a physical foothold in the Rocky Mountain region. "We have a long history of teaming with Paulien, so building on that relationship to establish a presence in Denver made sense to both parties," said SmithGroup managing partner Russ Sykes in a press release. "This [will allow] us to be closer to our clients while continuing to expand our portfolio into other markets.”
"We wanted to merge with SmithGroup because of the collaborative, team-based nature of the culture that we experienced when working with them," Paulien president Paul Leef, AIA, tells ARCHITECT. "Being part of a full-service organization provides additional resources, opens up new markets and opportunities for us, and will allow us to grow our business on a broader platform." As part of the new relationship, Leef will serve as vice president and studio leader for campus strategy and analytics. Paulien principal Frank Markley and senior associate Steven Schonberger, AIA, will both join SmithGroup as principals.
Founded in 1979, Paulien has worked on more than 700 campuses across the U.S., providing services such as master planning, facility programming, and policy development.
This will be SmithGroup's 14th office, including an international outpost in Shanghai. Firm leaders point to the acquisition as part of a commitment to continued growth following its January 2018 acquisition of Boston-based TRO.