Art Gensler, celebrated architect and founder of international architecture practice Gensler, has died aged 85.
Born Millard Arthur Gensler Jr. in Brooklyn, New York City in 1935, he studied architecture at Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning, earning a B.Arch degree in 1958. He subsequently moved to the west coast to found M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, Inc. in 1965 alongside his wife Drucilla and their business partner James Follett.
Over the next five-and-a-half-decades, he would turn the small interiors shop into the world’s largest architecture firm. Gensler is widely credited with elevating the practice of interior design to professional standing, steadfastly putting people and clients first, eschewing the ‘starchitect’ concept by keeping a low profile, and taking a collaborative approach to design with a focus on user experience.
His long career saw the firm develop a global presence, as it took up iconic projects across the world, designing sports stadiums, universities, corporate headquarters for world-leading brands, hotels and airports among others – including the world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower and the first Apple Stores. Gensler today has offices in 50 world cites and employs thousands of people, with revenue exceeding $1.5 billion in 2019.
A Fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association, and a professional member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Gensler was a charter member of Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of IIDA’s Star Award. He had also received Ernst & Young LLP’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year Award.