Jones & Jones
Specialty: Nature- and cultural-based architecture, landscape architecture and planning
Jones & Jones has contracted to focus on its core practices. The size of the staff is about 20 percent smaller. Marketing director Tom Carlson said it’s unclear whether demand for architecture services will pick up next year. He anticipates some projects could start, and more might be in the offing. But nothing is certain.
“It’s like a waiting game,” said Carlson, who noted it’s taking longer for people to hire firms and decide when design work will actually start.
Jones & Jones has emphasized ecological design throughout its 42 years. More and more clients want projects to be certified under the LEED or other green building programs. Now the company is finding that it’s no longer enough to design a system or building to be environmentally sustainable.
Clients want to be able to measure performance, even for landscapes. For instance, Carlson said, customers want a matrix to gauge the effectiveness of a stormwater management system.
Its track record as a green design firm and that fact that it works in specialized markets, such as designing cultural centers and parks, has not shielded the company from the effects of the sluggish economy. Larger firms have embraced the same approach, and they’re going after some of this specialty work. Not only is there more competition, but the fees for the work are less, Carlson said.
He doesn’t anticipate work will pick up much, though the firm is seeing some opportunities overseas and hopes to build on existing relationships. One place is Dublin, where Jones & Jones designed a gorilla rainforest habitat exhibit. Mexico also offers some potential, he said.
“The U.S. — we don’t see it coming out of it very quickly with the exception of Alaska and other places that are natural-resource rich,” Carlson said. In Alaska, the firm is working with some other firms on an American Indian health clinic.
No hiring planned
Carlson said the workload is at a sustainable level. No new staffing is planned, though that could change if the company lands some key projects. The Detroit Zoo has, for instance, short listed Jones & Jones to design a penguin and puffin exhibit.
The company did make one key hire, or in this case, a rehire, in 2011: Duane Dietz, a landscape architect whose work includes planning and design of regional parks, educational and play spaces, zoos and other facilities.
Regionally, the company continues to work on the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial, and the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center in Richland. Elsewhere in the U.S., Jones & Jones is working with other firms on a landscape master plan for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. The goal is to make the state’s highway more sustainable by following principles based on traditional Hawaiian values.
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