Casey Jones, a principal at jones|kroloff, has been named the next director of the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence program, according to sources at the GSA. Jones will replace Thomas Grooms, the program’s current head.
As director of Design Excellence, Jones will oversee the architect selection and design process for the GSA, one of the nation’s largest development organizations, responsible for building and maintaining everything from border stations to federal courthouses. The program, created in 1994 by former GSA Chief Architect Ed Feiner as a way to improve the quality of federal buildings, has been a roundly praised success, commissioning award-winning work by architects like Richard Meier and Thom Mayne.
Jones, 42, is no stranger to Design Excellence. Before launching jones|kroloff—a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based design-competition advisory firm—in 2005 with Reed Kroloff, director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, he worked on the GSA's Design Excellence program with Feiner. His return to the agency will likely raise the design debate that some observers said languished during the Bush years, when it received little support from the administration.
Jones’ prior experience at the GSA assured that jones|kroloff quickly became one of the go-to firms advising clients on architect selection, particularly in the cultural and educational fields. “I’ve looked at thousands of proposals; I’ve learned how firms are organized, what they've achieved, and how they present themselves,” Jones said in a 2007 interview with Architect. Reached for comment by AN yesterday, Jones was unable to confirm the appointment until the official announcement is made.
Last summer, Jones and Kroloff collaborated with David Rockwell on an interactive digital entry sequence, Hall of Fragments, to the main exhibition hall at the Venice architecture biennale. Before coming to the GSA, Jones was an associate director at the Van Alen Institute in New York. After graduating from the Universities of Virginia and Michigan, Jones began his career as an architect for Cooper Lecky, a Washington,D.C.-based firm, and Goshow Associates in New York.
Read AN's recent interview with Ed Feiner here.