Jul
2006

GBBN Is Open For Business in Beijing

GBBN Architects of Cincinnati (OH) and Lexington (KY), opened its third office -- this one in BEIJING, CHINA -- on June 23rd. The Grand Opening was shared via video conferencing with both the Cincinnati and Lexington offices, despite the 12-hour time difference. "This was something we needed and wanted to share with the entire firm," said Bob Gramann, FAIA -- firm president.

The 48-year-old firm has been working in China since 2003 - indeed a milestone in GBBN's history -- designing in excess of 12.5 million square feet of construction (completed and in progress), primarily in mixed-use residential and commercial projects for clients such as Vanke Enterprises. Currently, the firm's work in China represents approximately 15% of its projects.

The presence of an office in Beijing has been planned over the last year, in order to allow face-to-face relationships and to grow GBBN's volume substantially. "This is an important opportunity, given that construction industry predictions indicate that in the next 20 years, over 50% of the world's construction volume will be in China," said Gramann.

Joining Gramann in Beijing for the Grand Opening were firm partners, Kim Patton, AIA; Jervy Zhu, AIA; and Matthew Schottelkotte, AIA.

In addition to the work that GBBN is designing in China, the presence of the 12-person office will continue to build on the strategic partnerships that the firm has built with Mochen, a Chinese architectural practice, that has been the Architect of Record for many of the firm's Chinese projects. Taking advantage of the global economy and time change, the presence of an office in China will allow firm resources to be available 24 hours a day, accelerating the design and documentation processes, managing work flow, and offering a competitive edge to some of GBBN's US-based clients and project.

In 2005, GBBN participated in two high profile Trade Missions to China. Firm representatives were involved in both the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce delegation with 22 other Greater Cincinnati business executives, and were the sole architectural firm invited by the US Green Building Council and the US Department of Commerce to participate in the International Green Building Intelligence & Products Technology Conference this past spring. The volume and pace of construction and urbanization expected in China has caused the Chinese government to recognize the importance of environmentally appropriate design and the need to embrace sustainable technology and practices. Meanwhile, the realization of the global economy's impact on Greater Cincinnati and exploration of relationships for shared benefits were the topics of discussion for the Chamber last fall. The United States Department of Commerce honored GBBN with an Export Achievement Certificate for the firm's accomplishments in the global marketplace, namely its work in China. 

To date, over 20 of the firm's 115 professionals have visited China in connection with current projects in the Housing and Mixed-Use markets, and Trade Mission trips. Expansion into other growth markets in China where GBBN has extensive expertise, including Healthcare, Higher Education and Performing Arts, is planned for the future. Relevant projects include: Aronoff Center for Performing Arts, Schuster Performing Arts Center (Dayton), Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University Hospital and the University of Kentucky Patient Care Facility. GBBN is also the architect for new condominium projects Park Place at Lytle, Harbor Green (Bellevue, KY) and The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge (Covington, KY).