Architecture and Engineering giant AECOM has taken a big step to bolster its architecture offerings with the appointment of Ross Wimer, former partner and design director at SOM Chicago, as the leader of its architecture practice in the Americas. Wimer was known for fighting for design at SOM, and he plans to do the same thing at AECOM, where architecture can be overshadowed by much larger, and more profitable work.
“I think if you guide the whole firm toward design excellence that gets you better opportunities for design everywhere,” said Wimer, who wants to bring a design focus not just to buildings but to transportation projects and other realms where design isn’t always the first priority. He also wants to bring his expertise in designing tall buildings to a firm where the focus has been more horizontal.
AECOM has 50 offices in the Americas, and the task of getting them all on the same page is another challenge that drew Wimer to the job, he told AN. “The goal now is to let everyone feel like they’re connected, rather than being a series of different silos that work independently,” said Wimer, adding, a lot of offices are working in a collaborative way. The challenge is to get that to work even better than it is now.”
Of course Wimer is also excited to take advantage of “the scale of the operation and the breadth of the reach at the firm.” AECOM is not just the world’s largest architecture firm, but its also the world’s largest engineering design firm, according to Engineering News Record. Meanwhile the competition between AECOM and SOM seems to be heating up. Before Wimer’s move from SOM a number of AECOM partners bolted to start SOM’s new office in Los Angeles.