Hord Coplan merges with Anshen + Allen Local architects join global firm

November 18, 1992|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

The Baltimore architecture firm of Hord Coplan Macht has merged with a much larger international firm based in San Francisco, making the 18-employee Charles Village shop part of a team with offices from California to London and plans to expand in the Far East.

The San Francisco firm, Anshen + Allen, is well known nationally and internationally as specialists in design for health care and biological research buildings.

With the merger, which took effect Monday, Hord Coplan Macht brought expertise in fields such as landscape architecture and courthouse and housing design, as well as an entree into a major geographic market for health care and research construction.

"We intend to continue to serve our current customer base," said Ed Hord, a senior principal of Hord Coplan Macht. "We'll continue to do the things we do now."

The firm said its Baltimore office would expand its business base outside the Baltimore area to serve clients in other East Coast states.

The 18 Hord Coplan Macht employees are expected to have jobs with the merged firm, where Hord Coplan Macht senior principals Lee Coplan, Carol Macht and Mr. Hord will become principals. Some, however, might be asked to move to San Francisco or Los Angeles.

"Over the next year, we'll probably transfer people both ways," ,, said Derek Parker, chief executive officer of Anshen + Allen, which has 140 employees. "We do that with all of our offices. We find it's a good way to disseminate and maintain our firm's culture. It could be that people in Baltimore will also go to England."

Mr. Parker said his firm was seeking an East Coast merger partner to fill a gap in its 10-year expansion from a regional California firm to an international operation. But Anshen + Allen did not want to work in Boston, Washington or New York, he said.

"Baltimore has a good mid-Atlantic location. We had a sense Baltimore was evolving from an industrial past into services [and] education, and we had a past relationship with Hord Coplan Macht," Mr. Parker said. He said the firm's next expansion would likely be the opening of an office in Singapore.

Mr. Parker said partners in his firm, while at previous jobs, had worked with Hord Coplan Macht on a Mount Washington project. An shen + Allen has also made joint venture proposals with Hord Coplan Macht for projects that have not yet been announced.

Mr. Hord said the merger made sense to his firm because it had found itself outgunned by bigger rivals in bidding to design health care or biotechnology research buildings in this area.

"We weren't really looking for a joint venture, but doing major health care projects in Maryland, we found that generally they were awarded to joint ventures," he said. "That area is the future of Maryland. . . . That's where all the pushing is."

Mr. Coplan said changes in the architecture business are likely to squeeze midsized firms, regardless of whether they're competing for health care business or other design work.

"Architecture firms will either be large and more specific in their focus or they'll be small boutiques" anchored by well-known stars of the profession, Mr. Coplan said.

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