Press Releases 11.28.2022

Designing for Community and Equity: Perkins&Will Celebrates New Additions to its Board of Directors

Five next-generation leaders at Perkins&Will bring bold ideas and fresh perspectives to chart the organization’s future

A new cohort of diverse leaders is helping to set the strategic direction of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will. Principals Yanel de Angel, managing director of the firm’s Boston studio; David Dymecki, managing director of the Atlanta studio; Chris Hardie, design director of the Shanghai studio; Zena Howard, chair of the firm’s Cultural and Civic practice; and Lindsey Peckinpaugh, managing director of the Chicago studio have joined the firmwide board of directors. Each person was nominated to the board for demonstrating exemplary leadership and making positive impacts on the firm’s culture, clients, and communities served.

“Leadership succession is a natural and exciting part of our firm’s culture, and at a time of great change in the world—from climate to culture—it’s important that we have fresh perspectives on our board of directors,” says Perkins&Will CEO Phil Harrison. “Of course, we’re grateful for the contributions of our past board members, whose leadership has been instrumental to the success our firm enjoys today, and who have paved the way for a new generation of leaders.”

Get to know the new board members below:

Chicago, Illinois; 2021

Yanel de Angel

In 2008, Yanel de Angel joined Perkins&Will as a project architect; 13 years later, she became the managing director of the firm’s Boston studio. Now on the firmwide board of directors, de Angel’s goals are to continue advancing design excellence, growing talent, expanding key practice areas,

“My leadership roles at the firm are a testament to the firm’s culture of growth and entrepreneurial spirit,” says de Angel. “I am fortunate to have seen Perkins&Will from all levels, which means I can lead with empathy and a holistic perspective.”

de Yanel is also the CEO of AREA Research, a nonprofit that connects the design professions, academia, research institutions, and grant foundations to support design-focused research. In 2017, she co-founded resilientSEE, an alliance that provides long-term relief to communities in Puerto Rico affected by climate change-related impacts though resilient planning and design. Resilient-SEE has since expanded to projects in Atlanta, Mexico, and Boston.

David Dymecki

David Dymecki joined Perkins&Will in 2010 to build a Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment practice in partnership with the firm’s Toronto studio. Seven years later, he was instrumental to the merger with Denver-based sports architecture firm Sink Combs Dethlefs—now known as Perkins&Will’s Denver studio—which today is rapidly expanding into the health, science, and technology markets.

As managing director of Perkins&Will’s Atlanta studio, a position Dymecki has held since 2017, he is committed to giving back to the local community and supporting J.E.D.I. (justice, equity, engagement, diversity, and inclusion). The studio’s emphasis on CoCreate—a firmwide mindset that encourages the cultivation of genuine relationships and partnerships with diverse partners and consultants—is particularly important to him.

“Over the past decade, Perkins&Will has been blessed with talent that has guided the firm’s growth, design quality, financial success, integration of research, and industry-leading initiatives,” says Dymecki. “My goal is to continue that tradition through developing a new generation of talent, providing unparalleled service for our clients, and strengthening our environmental and social stewardship through Living Design.”

Atlanta, Georgia; 2018
Shanghai, China; 2022

Chris Hardie
RIBA, ARB, Intl. Assoc. AIA, RESET AP, Fitwel Ambassador

Chris Hardie, design director of the combined Perkins&Will and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) studio in Shanghai, joined SHL in 2008, playing a pivotal role in the firm’s growth. He founded SHL’s London studio, winning work on an international scale, and in 2011, established SHL’s Shanghai studio.

Since joining Perkins&Will as a part of a 2018 merger, Hardie continues to head globally significant projects. These include the recently opened Shanghai Library East (one of the world’s largest libraries) and a new Opera House in Beijing—a project that sits on the banks of the UNESCO World Heritage site Grand Canal. Additional examples of Hardie’s work can be found in Perkins&Will’s recently published “Designer Spotlight”—a special series of stories profiling the firm’s design leaders.

As a board member, one of Hardie’s goals is to connect with as many people at the firm as possible to strengthen Perkins&Will’s and SHL’s combined portfolio of work. He emphasizes design that is memorable and distinct.

“The freshmen board members will continue to push on design excellence, diversity, Living Design, and research, but perhaps with a fresh angle and approach generated by a new collegiality,” he says.

Zena Howard

As chair of Perkins&Will’s Cultural and Civic practice, Zena Howard leverages the power of design to unify communities, enhance public well-being, and promote social advancement. She joined the firm in 2014 as part of a merger with The Freelon Group, and was the senior project manager for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Howard is recognized as “a citizen architect” for her role in shaping architecture through a process called Remembrance Design, which responds to inequity and injustice by restoring lost cultural connections and honoring collective memory and history. This philosophy is integrated in many pivotal projects that Howard leads, including Destination Crenshaw—a 1.3-mile-long outdoor cultural experience along Crenshaw Boulevard which, when it opens in 2023, will celebrate Black Los Angeles.

Now on the board of directors, Howard hopes to continue elevating the firm’s reputation for excellence in designing transformational places that are culturally empathetic and socially equitable.

“We have the opportunity to converge many of the constituent parts of our core strengths, such as Living Design and research, to achieve unparalleled greatness and value for our clients,” she says.

Zena at Greenville Town Common, Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza
Greenville, North Carolina; 2020
Chicago, Illinois; 2021

Lindsey Peckinpaugh

When Lindsey Peckinpaugh joined Perkins&Will’s Chicago studio in 2017 through a merger with Sink Combs Dethlefs, she was leading the local Sports, Recreation, and Entertainment (SRE) practice by acting on her passion for community engagement. The relationships and opportunities she cultivated over the years led her to work across teams, practices, and typologies, shaping the design of everything from museums to affordable housing. She was elevated to managing director of the Chicago studio in 2021.

“The last five years have provided me with tremendous personal and professional growth,” says Peckinpaugh. “I am particularly proud of the excellent design and client service we provide our clients with the West Lafayette Wellness Center and Oak Park’s new Net-Zero Community Recreation Center, which is now under construction. Those project outcomes are better because of our intentionality around community engagement, inclusivity, and sustainable design.”

As a board member, Peckinpaugh aims to ensure the firm continues delivering beautiful and deep green design work around the world. More personally, she says she will focus on listening and learning:

“Our Board is keenly focused on mentorship, modeling collaboration, and creating space for emerging leaders,” she says. “Perkins&Will has always been a tremendously transparent and principled firm, and I think the evolving board will continue to be approachable and will work diligently on crafting our future vision.”

The newly composed Board of Directors convened for the first time in October. Other members include Phil Harrison, Dana Waymire, Tyson Curcio, Meg Brown, Murali Selvaraj, Gina Berndt, Brodie Stephens, Kay Kornovich, Richard Marshall, Tom Reisenbichler, Manuel Cadrecha, and Andrew Frontini. Recent former members include Robert Brown, Peter Busby, Ralph Johnson, and Jean Mah.