George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum (HOK) form an architectural firm in St. Louis with a vision for using design to help clients succeed and creating places that enrich people’s lives.
New school projects such as Bristol Primary School in suburban St. Louis not only solve the post-war need for classrooms, but provide innovative ways to create shared and collaborative teaching spaces – a continuous theme in HOK buildings.
The firm wins its first major university commission: the planning and design of a new campus for Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (SIUE).
Gyo Obata’s design of the Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey celebrates pure structure and light.
Located on a hilltop in Forest Park beside a major highway, the St. Louis Science Center Space Science Building, also known as the St. Louis Planetarium, is designed to be eye-catching from a distance.
The firm designs its first major corporate building: the IBM Advanced Systems Development Laboratories in Los Gatos, Calif.
The San Francisco office begins operating as HOK’s first permanent location outside of St. Louis.
Corporate offices such as the American Zinc Building in St. Louis serve as essays in mid-century modernism.
HOK ends the decade by securing its first retail project: the design of a flagship Neiman Marcus store in western Houston.
In late 1972, George Hellmuth receives agreement from Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum to seek a merger opportunity for the establishment of an HOK presence in New York City.
HOK is becoming recognized for its ability to overlay logic on large, complex building types while infusing them with a sense of place and purpose.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport becomes the nation’s first truly regional airport, serving as a hub for international travel and commerce for the entire Southwestern US.
HOK opened official offices in Washington, DC, and Dallas in 1975.
Xerox challenges a world-class team of researchers to create “the architecture of information.” HOK is tasked to design a facility that supports this collaboration.
The National Mall in Washington, DC, proves to be the perfect setting for the National Air and Space Museum.
HOK’s entrance into the world of sports began with designing facilities, including the fieldhouse, for the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
The vast, column-free Moscone Convention Center exemplifies a building finely tuned to its purpose while adding a new public park to San Francisco.
San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic Allan Temko called Levi’s Plaza “a gift to the city,” and Time magazine named it “Building of the Year.”
Realizing the opportunities offered by a presence in Southern California to complement the highly successful San Francisco location, HOK opens a Los Angeles office.
The opening of the 3.3 million-sq.-ft. King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh helps HOK crystallize the concept that an international airport is not only a gateway to a city, but also to a country and a culture.
HOK opens a project office in Hong Kong in 1984 to facilitate collaboration with a local firm in the preparation of construction documents for a landmark project in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With no presence in the rapidly-growing Southeastern US market, HOK opens an office in Tampa.
A commission to design King Saud University on a desert site outside Riyadh helps elevate HOK’s reputation in the Middle East.
By 1987, HOK’s reputation has reached London, where Western-style development projects are being built throughout the city.
For British Petroleum’s world headquarters in London’s financial district, the team creates an elegant, refined interior design inspired by the building’s original architect, Edwardian legend Sir Edwin Lutyens.
A Cupertino landmark, Apple’s campus houses its global R&D and office headquarters in the middle of Silicon Valley, at 1 Infinite Loop.
By acquiring CRSS Architects, HOK adds active new offices in Houston and Atlanta.
HOK designs a 180,000-sq.-ft. guesthouse, the Rimba Papua Hotel, in the remote rainforests of Timika, Indonesia.
The opening of this office signifies HOK’s commitment to establishing a strong, permanent presence in the United States’ third-largest city.
Tokyo Telecom hires HOK to join two towers together, and the firm conceives a design that ultimately helps to transform an entire section of Tokyo into a thriving business center.
HOK’s renovation design for the 1 million-sq.-ft. Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London preserves the character of the original 1870s Victorian construction while creating one of the UK’s most technologically advanced buildings.
In 1997, after several years of collaboration, HOK and Urbana merge in a new Toronto office. To meet Nortel’s requirements, HOK also opens an office in Ottawa.
Conceived as a model for Japan’s new regional airports, the 400,000-sq-ft. Sendai International Airport terminal consists of two levels with 11 aircraft gates accessed from a tubular concourse.
Satisfying the company’s critical need for communication and growth was the design intent of Microsoft’s campus expansion in Redmond, Wash.
The design team created the most technologically advanced office building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, within a traditional speculative building budget.
The Dubai office opens to serve the Dubai Marina Phase One project.
To attract events in a highly competitive market, Anaheim needed more space and a fresh image for its circa 1967 convention center.
To share its sustainable design knowledge and expertise with others, the firm authors The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design, published by John Wiley & Sons.
Designing a museum of any kind is challenging. Designing a modern museum and research center to sit behind The Natural History Museum, one of the grandest Romanesque Revival buildings in London, is especially daunting.
The new Alfred A. Arraj U.S. District Courthouse presents an optimistic, forward-looking image to the city of Denver while making a strong case for sustainable design.
An extension to the NASM — the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. — is built to display more than 300 aircraft and large space artifacts that would otherwise remain unavailable for public viewing.
This innovative archives building houses Georgia’s historical records and documents dating back to colonial times.
The firm opens an official Beijing office on the 18th floor of the China Resources Building, which HOK designed.
HOK developed a master plan and designed six new buildings for Biogen Idec’s research campus in the heart of San Diego’s biotech corridor.
Located on Samsung’s Research and Development campus in Suwon, South Korea, the 40-story Facility 4 responds to the technology company’s business strategy and vision for the evolution of its products.
HOK designs the building, shell and core interiors for the Barclays world headquarters tower in Canary Wharf, a business and shopping development in East London.
As one of the world’s best urban public parks, Forest Park in St. Louis is home to cultural institutions, special events and recreational activities.
By this time, HOK is successfully securing important commissions in mainland China as a result of its well-established Hong Kong presence. A decision is reached to open a permanent office in Shanghai.
With dramatic views of Georgian Bay along the Great Lakes Heritage Coast in northern Ontario, this visitor center fits within the rugged landscape in a way that celebrates the natural environment.
HOK receives the U.S. Green Building Council Organizational Excellence Award and the CoreNet Global / American Institute of Architects / International Interior Design Association Sustainable Design Leadership Award.
By 2008, when the firm decides to open an official office in Mumbai, HOK has been working in India for several years.
To expand its practice on the West Coast, HOK opens an office in Seattle.
The team designs the Indianapolis International Airport Colonel H. Weir Cook Terminal, which is located midfield between the two main runways, to move people efficiently while serving as a world-class threshold to the city and state.
HOK forges an alliance with the Biomimicry 3.8 (then the Biomimicry Guild) to integrate nature’s innovations into the planning and design of buildings, communities and cities worldwide.
HOK leads the planning and design of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), a 5.5 million-sq.-ft. campus spanning 27 buildings in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
HOK Product Design, LLC, is founded to develop products that provide value to clients, build loyalty and meet market needs.
Eight years after implementing BIM, HOK holds an internal “BIM Day” and changes all references of CAD to BIM. Soon after, HOK adopts a more holistic approach to BIM known as “buildingSMART.”
The American Institute of Architects’ Diversity Recognition Program selects HOK as one of 12 recipients of its inaugural award.
With 78 gates, this new world-class terminal for India’s second-busiest airport more than doubles Indira Gandhi International Airport’s passenger capacity.
HOK’s interior design defined how Bacardi USA’s headquarters relocation could accommodate its acquisitions while streamlining operations and portraying the individuality of each brand.
NASA’s LEED Platinum Building 20 office facility in Houston opens as a model for environmentally sound, high-performance buildings across the agency.
The emerging science of biomimicry helps guide the development of Lavasa, a new India hill town spread across 12,500 acres of picturesque land southeast of Mumbai.
The Contra Costa County Richard E. Arnason Justice Center in Pittsburg, Calif., serves as a gateway to an emerging civic center in the city’s central business district.
HOK IMPACT is founded as a team of professionals working across the world to formalize social outreach as part of HOK’s culture.
The Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dalí’s art outside of Spain.
HOK designs a series of residential and mixed-use towers within New Songdo City, Korea, an international business district called “the world’s smartest city.”
The challenge is to design an inviting but “edgy” workplace that supports AOL Canada’s open, collaborative nature and is flexible to accommodate its changing needs.
An abandoned 1930s power plant along the downtown riverfront in Lansing, Mich., is transformed into a new national headquarters for Accident Fund Holdings, Inc.
The Consolidated Forensic Laboratory combines the District of Columbia’s public safety forensic science and public health efforts into a state-of-the-art, LEED Platinum building.
The BBC’s New Broadcasting House in central London consolidates 5,500 staff members from the broadcaster’s worldwide network.
HOK collaborates with Google to design a new office stacked over five floors at 111 Richmond Street West, a heritage building in Toronto’s downtown core.
The Baku Flame Towers become the instant symbol of Azerbaijan, merging a direct reference to the nation as the land of flames with exciting, iconic, contemporary forms that enclose offices, hotels, apartments and shopping.
HOK acquires the New York and Shanghai offices of hospitality design firm BBG-BBGM, creating one of the world’s leading hospitality design firms.
The community masjid, or mosque, is the spiritual center of the KAPSARC residential development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The design for NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center renovates and adapts two World War II-era airplane hangars and adds a new building between them on a national historic landmark site in Oahu.
The LEED Gold Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion blends clinical care and scientific research on Cedars-Sinai’s Los Angeles campus.
HOK is lead designer for a team that is developing the master plan for the Dubai Expo 2020, which is expected to draw more than 25 million visitors to the emirate and wider UAE.
HOK and Biomimicry 3.8 release the Genius of Biome report, a highly visual textbook describing how to apply biomimicry design principles.
HOK’s design of the passenger terminal complex at Qatar’s replacement airport in Doha celebrates form, surface and light while providing an efficient yet inspirational experience for travelers.
The LEED Gold Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis replaces the nearby Wishard Hospital, presenting an opportunity for a complete transformation that is rare for urban academic medical centers.
As the premier transportation hub in Southern California, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center brings together transit, dining, retail and entertainment in an iconic terminal.
The slender urban form of this Class A 535 Mission Street office tower transforms the South of Market (SoMa) district of San Francisco.
HOK designs OpenText’s new office space to accommodate visiting executives, current clients and permanent staff.
The firm publishes the HOK Tall Buildings book, which features conceptual designs, projects under construction and built high-rises worldwide.
HOK tops 200 LEED, BREEAM, Green Mark and Green Globe certified projects.
HOK finalizes the acquisition of 360 Architecture, a 200-person firm with expertise in the design of sports, recreation, wellness, entertainment and mixed-use facilities.
Porsche’s North American headquarters in Atlanta combines office, training and driving functions into one sleek, high-performance facility that encapsulates the essence of the company’s iconic brand.
HOK officially opens a Philadelphia office in June 2015.
The University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center provides a sophisticated, beautiful home to support world-renowned programs in molecular engineering and astrophysics.
To commemorate HOK’s 60th anniversary in 2015, the firm completed a community service initiative in which 24 offices donated at least 60 hours of pro bono design services.
HOK’s design transformed Stage 6 at Television Centre in White City, London, into the new headquarters for BBC Worldwide.
In addition to being rated Platinum under Singapore’s Green Mark program, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital won an Honor Award for Architecture from the AIA’s Hong Kong Chapter.
The Francis Crick Institute in London accommodates 1,500 researchers and support staff and is Europe’s largest center for biomedical research.
Located on one of Abu Dhabi’s most prominent urban sites, the new headquarters for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company creates a city landmark while articulating ADNOC’s role as one of the world’s most dynamic, influential petroleum companies.
Bill Hellmuth, AIA, took over as HOK’s chief executive officer on April 19, 2016, with longtime CEO Patrick MacLeamy, FAIA, moving to chairman as part of a planned succession process.
HOK, in association with ATB and Dialog, was commissioned by the city of Edmonton and the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers to design the new Roger’s Place Arena and to oversee the master plan of an adjacent mixed-use ICE District.
The AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) honored two HOK-designed projects as 2017 Top Ten Green Project award winners.
Visual Communications and Studio Tilt, HOK’s in-house graphic design and experiential branding groups, came together to form an integrated global practice called Experience Design.
The Francis Crick Institute, which opened the previous year in central London as one of Europe’s largest biomedical and translational research centers, was named R&D Magazine’s 2017 Laboratory of the Year.
2017 marked the 20th anniversary of HOK’s entry into Canada, where the firm now has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary.
The design for Mercedes-Benz Stadium establishes a new architectural icon for Atlanta and a new benchmark for sports venues while creating a fan experience that is second to none.
In 1955, George Hellmuth recruits Gyo Obata and George Kassabaum to form an architectural firm in St. Louis with a vision for using design to help clients succeed and creating places that enrich people’s lives. George Hellmuth incorporates this new firm as Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK), a Missouri corporation with 26 employees. He grants ownership shares to Gyo and George Kassabaum and keeps a majority for himself. Ten years later, George Hellmuth increases the ownership interests of Gyo and George Kassabaum to make each of the three principals equal owners. Some stock shares are held in reserve for future key employees.
George Hellmuth, while director of marketing at Smith, Hinchman and Grylls (SHG), had written a document on how to grow a successful practice for a large architect-engineer firm. In 1955, he embraces the document for Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum. Referred to as his blueprint for a successful design firm, George’s document includes thoughts on the importance of obtaining business from large clients who have work to perform in several parts of the world as well as the benefit of developing specialty areas of design practice.
Highlights of George’s plan for a “Recession Proof Office:”
The group also brings with them a design philosophy that Gyo had helped craft:
“Buildings should be designed around people, and for people: buildings can be and must be more than an economic and efficient functioning machine. We believe that buildings must be designed to provide qualities of beauty both inside and out: qualities that contribute to people’s sense of well-being and happiness.”