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Sink Combs Dethlefs Announces Merger with International Design Leader Perkins+Will

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Perkins+Will Announces Merger with Sink Combs Dethlefs, a National Leader in Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment Architecture

  • Addition of Sink Combs Dethlefs’ practice bolsters Perkins+Will’s position in sports, recreation, and entertainment market
  • Denver to become Perkins+Will’s 24th design studio worldwide, expanding the firm’s geographic reach to the Rocky Mountain West region
  • Merger is part of Perkins+Will’s broader strategy around designing for health, well-being, and sustainability
  • Combined areas of expertise strengthen Perkins+Will’s multi-disciplinary approach to design and support convergence of market sectors
  • Noteworthy growth areas include higher education and urban design, where downtown sports and entertainment arenas are spurring economic revitalization through commercial development
  • Sink Combs Dethlefs to expand reach nationally and internationally through seamless integration with Perkins+Will’s global network

DENVER—October 4, 2017—Perkins+Will, one of the oldest and most respected interdisciplinary architecture and design firms in the world, announced today that Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs, a national leader in sports, recreation, and entertainment architecture, has joined the firm. Denver now becomes the home of Perkins+Will’s 24th design studio.

The merger, which significantly bolsters Perkins+Will’s visibility in the Rocky Mountain West region, is part of the firm’s strategy to meet growing global demand for design that promotes holistic human health and well-being.

“The biggest driver behind the union of our two firms is the increasing focus on designing for ‘full-circle’ health and well-being—that is, giving people the opportunity to be active, fit, healthy, and happy at every point on the continuum of life experience,” says Perkins+Will CEO Phil Harrison. “Together with Sink Combs Dethlefs, we can deliver creative, research-driven solutions to meet this demand, while providing superior client service—a shared hallmark of our practices.”

Founded in 1962, Sink Combs Dethlefs’ projects include the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at the UCHealth Training Center, home of the Denver Broncos, in Englewood, Colorado; the University of Michigan Crisler Arena renovation and William Davidson Player Development Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan; the Chesapeake Energy Arena renovation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania; and the visitor and conference center at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

Beyond Sports and Recreation: Converging Disciplines

The merger comes at a critical time in the architecture, design, and construction industry, where historically distinct project typologies, disciplines, and practice areas are now blending in both form and function, and where health and well-being are considered paramount. For example, academic buildings are adopting active workplace design trends; corporate interiors are borrowing design elements from health and wellness centers; healthcare facilities are taking design cues from the hospitality sector; hotels are incorporating aspects of sports and recreation; athletics and entertainment facilities are serving as community anchors in walkable, mixed-use urban developments; and so on.

By combining firms, Perkins+Will and Sink Combs Dethlefs can cross-pollinate services to meet these overlapping market needs.

“This ‘blurring of the lines’ is a powerful emerging trend in the world of design, so it’s an exciting time to be leading the way forward,” says Don Dethlefs of Sink Combs Dethlefs, now chair of Perkins+Will’s expanded Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment practice. “By blending our areas of expertise, we’re able to provide clients—no matter what sector they’re in—with fresh, forward-thinking solutions that prioritize fitness, health, and well-being.”

Expanded Range of Client Service Offerings

Known for designing arenas and event centers, collegiate athletic facilities, community recreation centers, civic centers, and spectator venues, Sink Combs Dethlefs naturally expands Perkins+Will’s range of client service offerings.

This is particularly true in the higher education sector, where Perkins+Will is an established leader in the design of student centers, research facilities, academic buildings, administrative centers, and residence halls, as well as in campus planning, and where the firm’s portfolio of athletic centers is now starting to grow.

It is also true within the urban design sector, where Perkins+Will’s Cities and Sites practice is global leader in creating dynamic, animated, health-conscious cities, and where sports and entertainment arenas are increasingly becoming catalysts for economic growth in downtown mixed-use districts.

“The addition of Sink Combs Dethlefs’ highly specialized talent and expertise will be a great boon to our clients around the world, and will certainly open new doors for us,” says Harrison. “Already, many of our most valued and long-standing clients have expressed their excitement about the merger and are eager to explore the possibilities.”

By the same token, Perkins+Will’s expertise across a dozen practice areas, combined with its worldwide network of talent, greatly diversifies the types of services that Sink Combs Dethlefs can offer.

“As one firm, we now have shared access to all of the talent and resources that meet our clients’ needs,” says Andrew Barnard, former president of Sink Combs Dethlefs, now managing director of Perkins+Will’s Denver office. “The client experience will be smoother, simpler, and more efficient. The quality of work and caliber of design, which have always been high, will be amplified. And the level of personalized client service, which has always been exceptional, will reach new heights. We see this as all very positive.”

Greater Geographic Reach, Greater Impact

In addition to new service offerings, the merger gives both firms greater exposure geographically. Sink Combs Dethlefs’ 50-person flagship office in Denver—now Perkins+Will’s 24th design studio—significantly strengthens Perkins+Will’s presence in Colorado and the greater Rocky Mountain West region. Perkins+Will’s projects there to date include the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado; the University of Colorado, Anschutz, Cancer Pavilion in Aurora, Colorado; and Intermountain Healthcare’s Alta View Hospital in Sandy, Utah.

Sink Combs Dethlefs’ 10-person practice in Chicago, which will soon operate out of Perkins+Will’s design studio in the iconic Wrigley Building downtown, establishes Perkins+Will as a new leader in sports and recreation in the Midwest. Projects there include the Joyce Center Fieldhouse and Rolf Sports Center, both at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the Athletic Research Center at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All three, designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs, are under construction. Perkins+Will’s Ryan/Walter Athletic Center at Northwestern University is also under construction and scheduled to open in 2018.

The merger enhances Sink Combs Dethlefs’ ability to win new work nationally and internationally, as well.

“It’s a tremendous advantage to be part of Perkins+Will’s constellation of 24 design studios around the world,” says Lindsey Peckinpaugh, a Principal based in Sink Combs Dethlefs’ Chicago office. “We are now one firm with global reach and resources, and yet we remain totally committed to and invested in our local communities.”

Continued Leadership in Sustainability, Health, and Well-Being

Finally, the fusion of the two firms is a natural extension of Perkins+Will’s legacy in health, wellness, and sustainability leadership, which has long been one of its greatest differentiators. Perkins+Will is a trailblazer in the movement toward holistically sustainable design, and is known for seminal industry innovations like the Precautionary List, the Transparency website, the resilient building rating system RELi, the development of Portico with Google and the Healthy Building Network, and the adoption Fitwel.

It is Perkins+Will’s belief that sports and fitness play an important role in the development of healthy lifestyles, and that healthy lifestyles play a commensurate role in the development of sustainable cities and communities.

“Human health and well-being are critical aspects of sustainability. With a growing body of research showing the link between physical fitness and overall health, it is our moral and ethical obligation to create places that prioritize health and promote physical activity—across all project types, market sectors, and disciplines,” Harrison says. “Posterity depends on it.”



Noteworthy Projects

Key sports, athletics, and recreation projects designed by Perkins+Will include:

Key sports, athletics, and recreation projects designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs include:

About Perkins+Will          

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935. Founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities, we collaborate with clients all over the world to create healthy, sustainable places in which to live, learn, work, play, and heal. More than 2,000 professionals across over 20 Perkins+Will offices include some of the brightest minds in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Clients consistently turn to us for our leadership and expertise in areas like sustainability, resilience, health and wellness, and mobility. Additionally, our research catalyzes innovative design technologies and solutions that result in better, smarter, more competitive built environments. The recipient of hundreds of design awards each year, and a progressive leader in corporate social responsibility, Perkins+Will is consistently ranked among the world’s top design firms. Our family of partner companies includes retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; healthcare technology planning firm Genesis Planning; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit


In the Press: SCD Principals, Andy Barnard and Ernest Joyner, Team up on NACDA Magazine Article

University of Dayton Arena Renovation Concourse

Our Vice President, Andy Barnard, and Principal, Ernest Joyner, recently joined forces to coauthor an article in the September 2017 issue of Athletic Administration. The article named “Branding and Graphics” is focused on branding and graphics with collegiate athletic facilities.

“Sports facilities are places of image, brand, and memory. Team colors, logos, personalities, and traditions are powerful touchstones that connect fans, recruits, and athletes to the athletics experience and to one another.”

Athletics Administration reaches each institution’s athletics department, from the athletics director to the marketing director to the sports information director to the equipment manager to the various head coaches in both the men’s and women’s arena. It focuses on athletics facilities, new ideas in promotions, marketing and development, legal ramifications and other current issues in collegiate athletics administration.

You can view a digital version of the publication at the following link – NACDA Athletic Administration September 2017

Ground Breaking for the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center

On August 18th, the City of Louisville officially broke ground on the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center and Memory Square Pool Expansion project.

The project includes a significant addition and renovation to the current center which includes a new leisure pool, lesson/exercise/lap pool, fitness center with group exercise studios, a turf gym, new preschool and indoor playground, and extensive renovation and addition to the senior center including lounge, meetings rooms, game room, and a new catering kitchen. The Memory Square Pool will also receive a renovated bath house and children’s pool and a new shade structures for additional covered areas.

Currently we are contemplating a Fall 2018 completion date for the Recreation & Senior Center.

It is anticipated that Memory Square Pool improvements will occur between October 2017 and May 2018 with a grand re-opening in May 2018.

To view the SCD project page, click here.

Pepsi Center Project Wins ENR Mountain States 2017 Best Project Award

Sink Combs Dethlefs is honored to announce that the Pepsi Center Club Lexus and Storage Annex project was selected by ENR Mountain States as the best 2017 Sports/Entertainment project in Colorado/Wyoming/Dakotas region.

The project included a 11,000 SF addition of a premium club to the entry level of the arena.  The club is expected to generate $1 million in incremental revenue for both the Nuggets and Avalanche.

Congratulations to Turner Construction and the entire project team for working together on developing a successful project.

For the list of all ENR Mountain States 2017 Best Projects Winners, click here.

To view our the Pepsi Center project page, click here.


In the Press: Jennifer Stephen’s Article in Facility Manager Magazine

If you find yourself flipping through the Facility Manager Magazine July/August 2017 Conference Issue, make sure to stop and read the article on pages 48-49.

Our Director of Marketing and firm principal, Jennifer Stephens, authored an article about the importance of creating a sense of FOMO (aka “Fear of Missing Out”) in modern arenas. View the full magazine in the link below!

Facility Manager July/August 2017 – Page 48

Project Progress Report: Commerce City Recreation Center Beam Raising Ceremony

On Thursday, June 29th members from the Commerce City Council participated in a beam raising ceremony for the new recreation center located at 112th and Potomac. After some words from Mayor Sean Ford and Mark Olesen (Pinkard Construction), members from City Council and Parks and Recreation staff, along with the design & construction teams were encouraged to sign the beam before it was lifted and installed into place. Construction is targeting a Spring 2018 completion. Learn more about the project here:

Press Release: PPL Center Development Named Finalist in 2017 ULI Global Awards for Excellence

The PPL Center

Sink Combs Dethlefs is honored to announce that the Allentown Development was selected as a finalist for the 2017 ULI Global Awards for Excellence, which is known as one of the development industry’s most prestigious award programs. Information about the selection from the ULI website is below.

For the list of all 25 finalists in the Global Awards for Excellence, click here.

For more information about the awards and how the finalists are selected, click here.


Downtown Allentown Revitalization District- 2017 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist

Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States
Owners/developers: Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, Hammes Company, City Center Investment Corp. et al.
Designers: Sink Combs Dethlefs Architects, Elkus – Manfredi Architects, et al.
Site Size: 10.3 Acres

Allentown is the third largest city in Pennsylvania. While Pittsburgh and Philadelphia revitalized, Allentown continued to decline – until recently. Today, Allentown is the fastest-growing city in Pennsylvania, thanks in large part to an innovative state law that created the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). The anchor of the revitalization is a 5.3-acre block containing PPL Center, a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena, with an integrated mixed-use development including retail, dining, health/wellness, hotel, commercial office, two historic buildings, and structured parking. The Arena Block redevelopment features extensive adaptive reuse and reactivation of the historic Dime Bank Building, which anchors the arena’s main entrance and also serves as the lobby of the Renaissance Allentown Hotel.

Following significant initial public investment in the Arena Block, additional investment by private developers has reversed Allentown’s decline and transformed it into a sought-after destination to live, work and play. Since its completion in 2014 by the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, the Arena Block redevelopment has been the catalyst for extensive additional private development, led by City Center Investment Corp. City Center’s major mixed-use development, City Center Lehigh Valley, is helping re-position downtown Allentown into a regional center of excellence for business, culture and metropolitan living. City Center includes more than 1 million square feet among three Class A office towers, the Renaissance Allentown Hotel, the STRATA West apartment tower, The Shops at City Center, restaurant space, historic renovations, a co-working space and more than 1,500 parking spaces. City Center’s total investment in downtown Allentown is $400 million, with additional development of office, residential, retail and green space underway.

SCD Community Outreach: Cleworth Architectural Legacy Program 2017

CAL 2017 - Workshop

In early June, SCD completed its 5th consecutive session volunteering for the Cleworth Architectural Legacy program, or the CAL program for short. The Program is organized through the Denver Architectural Foundation and pairs local design firms with schools to teach a 6-week unit on Architecture. This has been our 3rd year working with Jamie Archambault’s 2nd grade class at University Park Elementary and the student projects were focused on why we build communities the way we do. We touched on topics ranging from natural resources, climate, appropriate building materials, and relationships. Students were split into teams of 2-3 to build small models of various buildings needed within a community. We loved working with such bright and enthusiastic young designers!

Click here, to learn more about the CAL program and the Denver Architectural Foundation.

CAL 2017 - Class Photo


The Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center featured in High Point University Magazine

The High Point University Magazine Spring 2017 issue was recently released and it included a featured article about the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center. High Point’s own president and first lady, Nido and Mariana Qubein,  graciously donated $10 Million towards the project which goes to show the commitment they have to the University.

Sink Combs Dethlefs and CJMW have been working together on the design of the Arena and Conference Center.


“Here at High Point University, we are focused on the art of the possible,” Qubein says. “People have asked how we succeeded in the midst of the greatest recession of our time. We had faith and we had courage, and when you put those two things together, you have faithful courage. With faithful courage, amazing things continue to unfold for the HPU family.”


You can find the article in the Spring 2017 issue at the following link – High Point University Magazine

SCD Project Page Link – Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center