Press Releases June 1, 2023

Perkins&Will promotes Robert Clemens to Managing Director of its New York studio; Bill Harris moves into expanded regional role

The leadership transitions will shape the firm’s strategic direction in New York and the Northeastern U.S.

NEW YORK — Global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will has promoted Robert Clemens to managing director of its New York studio. Since joining Perkins&Will in 2021, Clemens has served as the studio’s director of operations and leader of its commercial and emerging transit practices. Clemens succeeds Bill Harris, who will continue in an expanded regional managing director role after nearly six years as New York studio managing director.

“Thanks to Bill, our studio has enjoyed incredible growth and embedded it even more deeply into the vibrant cultural fabric of New York City,” says Clemens. “For me, Bill has been an incredible mentor and inspiration, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to now lead the studio forward. Like Bill, I’m focused on growing our internal capabilities, strengthening relationships with clients, and undertaking projects that, most importantly, positively contribute to New York.”

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Under Harris’ leadership, Perkins&Will’s New York studio has experienced significant growth, nearly doubling its staff size and completing or embarking on a range of significant projects. These include the ground-up commercial development 799 Broadway in Greenwich Village; the Animal Medical Center on the Upper East Side; workplace interiors for leading legal, financial, and tech firms; and industry-leading academic medical centers in both New York and Philadelphia. During Harris’ tenure, Perkins&Will’s New York studio has established itself as a leader in the New York City and regional commercial life sciences market, with nearly 3 million square feet of projects completed, in design or in construction. In 2020, Harris also oversaw Perkins&Will’s New York studio relocation to Midtown Manhattan and the design of its new office tailored to post-pandemic workplace needs.

Clemens has more than 25 years’ experience as an architect and has been actively practicing in New York since 2008. His projects have included mixed-use, residential, and transit-oriented communities that emphasize equity, as well as cultural and civic environments. Drawing on this cross-sector experience, Clemens will help lead Perkins&Will’s New York studio into a new era of continued growth and design excellence. While the practice will continue to build its pipeline of projects across life sciences, healthcare, commercial development, corporate workplace, advisory services, and higher education, it will also focus on the cultural, civic, mixed-use, transit, and mobility sectors. Already, the studio is expanding its transit portfolio with active projects at Syracuse Hancock International Airport and the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, and it recently submitted an ambitious proposal for reimagining Manhattan’s Penn Station.

“It’s the right moment for Robert to lead. He is passionate about growing the studio, has an innate ability for fostering new ideas and talent, and is driven by a genuine desire to positively impact New York through considered, thoughtful design.”

Bill Harris

While Harris will continue to lead the studio’s science and technology practice, maintaining his relationships with clients and leading design teams, he will return to his roots in Boston as regional managing director, supporting business development and strategy for the New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. studios.

Clemens’ promotion is the latest strategic addition to the New York studio’s senior leadership team, following the appointment of design director Mike McElderry in July 2022. Like Clemens, McElderry brings significant experience in designing civic, cultural, academic, and commercial spaces to the New York studio.

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