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SmithGroup Buys Area Design

August 9, 2007

by James Murdock

SmithGroup, already No. 11 on Architectural Record’s 2007 list of the Top 150 Architecture Firms, just got a little larger: the Detroit-based architecture and engineering giant acquired Area Design, a boutique firm based in Chicago, for an undisclosed amount yesterday.

Area is a seven-person commercial interiors firm founded by Angie Lee, FAIA, and Scott Baker, AIA, in 2005. Among its 20 clients are DDB Chicago, Exelon Corporation, and The HON Company. It posted $1.23 million in 2006 revenue. Prior to founding Area, Lee worked for 13 years at OWP/P—ending her career there as director of corporate practice. She will now become a vice president at SmithGroup, while Baker will become an associate and project manager.

The interiors firm SmithGroup specializes in the health care, university, and technology markets. It posted $143.9 million in 2006 revenue, most of which came from domestic projects. In a press release announcing its acquisition of Area, Andy Vazzano, FAIA, managing director of SmithGroup’s Chicago office said that Lee’s experience in that city made her the perfect person to help SmithGroup deepen its presence there.

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