wg:Architecture -- New African-American Owned Healthcare Architecture Firm Based On 30 Year Working Relationship

wg:Architecture – Change Perspective – Create Opportunity

For over three decades, the proven talents of planners and designers of GBBN Architects and WA have worked together on projects that span their collective areas of expertise and disciplines – especially healthcare.  Their collaborative efforts have evolved into wg:Architecture, an Africian-American-owned healthcare architecture practice focused on developing solutions that improve patient care, caregiver satisfaction and staff efficiency.

“wg:Architecture is committed to building relationships with clients that regularly build and renovate healthcare specific facilities to meet their needs and the needs of the end-user – patients, healthcare providers and caregivers,” said Henry Wilson, owner of WA, the minority-owned, Cincinnati-based firm.

He added, “We’re interested in clients with a commitment to inclusion, and it’s our commitment to hiring and developing the best Africian-American medical planners and designers in the country.”

One of the first major steps towards fulfilling the new firm's mission was to hire Kevin Holland, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, as managing director, who has high expectations that are more than obtainable for wg:A.

"I expect wg:Architecture, because of its origins, to exceed the rate of growth normally experienced by new firms. We are planning to create and grow a diverse staff of experienced healthcare planners – from both internal and external sources in order to address, what we have found to be the need of many organizations who may be interested in our model. Our biggest challenge is first, to find those organizations that either are interested or have not given our model much consideration,” said Holland. He added, second, we have to gain the confidence of those markets, and third, we have to outperform each of our competitors in delivering the best architectural products for our clients – which, only second to their intellectual property, is their greatest asset.”

It is the shared core values of the two individual firms that makes the collaboration and end result of wg:Architecture, such a seamless fit.

“Our history of working together over three decades speaks to the firm’s core values of trust, nurturing, stability and innovation, said Greg Otis, president of GBBN Architects. “Add to those the variable inclusion, and you have what we believe to be a unique healthcare design firm with an expertise like no other in the city or region for that matter.” In fact, over the last five years every healthcare project at GBBN has included WA -- an example of the commitment to diversity and professional growth of WA's healthcare experience. Added Otis, "It's upon this foundation that wg:A has been built."

Holland echoes Otis' assessment of the importance of the sound foundation upon which wg:A is being built. "After 30 years both firms have made the conscious decision to work together, it obviously is not simply an arrangement of convenience--and so, there is a strong degree of mutual trust and respect." He added, "As an example, the state of Ohio, when selecting firms utilizes, as one of its key criteria, the number of successful collaborations that partnering firms have shared together. They recognize the synergy and harmony that comes from familiar relationships, and so do we."

What makes wg:Architecture different from other firms that specialize in healthcare design projects? According to Holland, it's a combination of the professional staff’s healthcare planning expertise, firm philosophy, combined project experience, and its approach to diversity.

“The norm is to only look at diversity through a lens of race and ethnicity but, we look at something greater, we look at diversity as a variety of experiences—both life and professional,” said Holland. “The experiences shape our individual perspectives. It’s the utilization of all perspectives—the medical staff, the nursing staff, the maintenance staff, and board of directors, the healthcare planner, the 20-something intern architect who doesn’t have much healthcare experience but, has a great mind in shaping and creating space—this, creates the best architectural solution to an organizational challenge. This is what drives our firm’s mantra:

Change Perspectives (therefore) Create Opportunity.”


The new firm is located at 807 Broadway in downtown Cincinnati