CHICAGO-The nationally known architectural firm of Harry Weese Associates,founded by its namesake in the 1940s, has ended its independent existence with theannouncement that its principals have chosen to become part of with theChicago office of Gensler, a national architecture firm.Architect Weese, a 1938 graduate of MIT, worked at the Chicago office ofSkidmore, Owings & Merrill before founding his own practice in 1947.

One of the firm’s nationally known projects is the Washington AreaMetropolitan Transit Authority building. Its success helped the firm gain transitcommissions throughout the country.The firm’s notable local projects include the renovation of the AuditoriumTheatre, the Time and Life Building and the Metropolitan CorrectionalCenter.

The firm was originally known as Harry Weese & Associates. The name changedin 1992 and by that time Weese had left the firm. He died in 1998.

Terms of the new deal with Gensler were not disclosed. However, JamesFollett, managing principal of the Chicago office of Gensler, that the arrangement is better described as a “marriage.” Bothfirms had worked on several projects together and after several months ofdiscussions, worked out the joining of the two firms.James A. Torvik, president and principal, and David Munson, principal of theWeese firm, are formally joining Gensler. George Vrechek, former principal,is joining the engineering firm of Environmental System Design. WeeseAssociates also closed its Washington, DC office at the end of June.

About25 employees of the Chicago office were offered jobs at Gensler.Gensler has about 2,500 employees worldwide. Its Chicago office currentlyhas about 100 employees. Nationally, Gensler was named the Architecture Firmof the Year 2000 by the American Institute of Architects. The two firms hadworked on the Chicago location of the DisneyQuest indoor theme park. Bothfirms have co-designed a renovation of the Hotel Inter-Continental Chicago,as reported last month on

Follett says that, because of its size, the Weese firm found itdifficult to compete in today’s competitive marketplace.

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