Art Gensler, pioneer of customer service architecture, dies at 85

Art Gensler, the founder of US architect Gensler has passed away peacefully.

Art Gensler founded M Arthur Gensler Jr & Associates, Inc in 1965 with his wife Drue and James Follett. He remained there until stepping down as chief executive in 2005 and chairman in 2010.

Gensler is now the world’s largest architect, employing 5,000 people in 50 locations, and working on projects such as the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Shanghai Tower.

The company adopted the "inside-out" approach to architecture, focusing on the "user journey" in a building and its view of customer service has been citied as an influence for the way other professional services firms organise and manage themselves.

Gensler endowed Cornell University with a scholarship programme and in 2015 wrote "Art’s Principles", a series of business insights he wished someone had given him when he formed the firm.

He was awarded the US Green Building Council’s President’s Award in 2012.

Martin Manley, former US assistant secretary of labour, said: "He has single-handedly defined the business of architecture in the US. He brought professionalism and the notion of client service to this business that simply wasn’t there before."

Andy Cohen, Gensler’s co-chief executive, said: "Art didn’t want to be a ‘starchitect’. In fact, what he built was a constellation of stars by hiring smart people and getting out of their way. It’s why Gensler is a pioneer in our industry, and Art’s legacy will remain imbedded in our firm’s unique culture."

Image courtesy of Gensler

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