Announcements 10.28.2021

Perkins&Will: The only architecture and design firm named a Fast Company “Brand That Matters”

The leading global business magazine recognizes us for championing sustainability, resilience, regeneration, social equity, and well-being through our Living Design framework—and honors several of our clients, too.

We’re thrilled to announce that Fast Company has honored us for our innovative approach to healthy, sustainable, equitable design with a Brands That Matter Award. We’re one of 95 companies and organizations—including several of our clients—recognized for having an extraordinary “impact on business and culture.”


“One outgrowth of the current overlapping crises we’re facing as a society—from climate change to inequality—is the recognition of the role that urban planning and architecture has played in routinizing or systemically embedding bad practices into our built environment. The global architecture firm Perkins&Will has taken a leadership role in promulgating solutions to these industry and societal problems.”

–Fast Company editors

“Asking what matters to the world is one of the most interesting questions today as we come out of the pandemic,” says Perkins&Will CEO Phil Harrison. “It’s so cool that Fast Company is shining a light on companies that are trying to make a difference, and we’re honored to be recognized among such amazing businesses.”


Living Design: A Hallmark of Our Practice; An Imperative for Our Time

Living Design is a rigorous, research-backed framework that allows us to design for holistic livability. It addresses key issues such as sustainability, resilience, regeneration, social equity, and well-being. Here are a few recent examples of how Living Design has shaped the work we do:

grassy courtyard with people walking by
Living Design is a rigorous, research-backed framework that allows us to design for holistic livability.

Climate Action

  • In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, our Energy Lab developed a high-tech software program to significantly improve the energy performance of our projects. Known as Simulation Platform for Energy-Efficient Design, or SPEED, this innovative tool allows designers to generate energy, daylight, and solar analyses in a fraction of the time.
  • In 2019, our London studio pledged to offer costed, net-zero carbon operational design strategies to all clients up to RIBA Stage 2. The following year, they published the Net-Zero Now manifesto, pledging that all interiors projects will be net-zero embodied carbon by 2030.
  • Our Washington, D.C., Toronto, and Ottawa studios committed to eliminating embodied carbon in every commercial interiors space they design by 2030. Our Vancouver and Calgary studios announced a similar undertaking, offering clients a Carbon Impact Statement with every project at no additional cost.
  • We won a $460,000 research grant from the Province of British Columbia to develop a high-tech tool that gives designers real-time access to the embodied carbon impacts of building materials.
  • We partnered with Material Bank, an open resource for searching and sampling materials, to offset 100% of carbon emissions associated with shipping architectural and finish samples.

Social Equity

  • Our toolkit “A New Formula for Neighborhood Livability” tackles socially and racially equitable urban design. Guidelines, benchmarks, and metrics for urban designers help assess and understand the social and racial inequities faced by a given community, revolutionizing the industry-standard approach to measuring the success of a city’s design.
  • We won a $20,000 ASID Foundation Research Grant to explore how leveraging Living Design principles can improve the health and well-being of residents in affordable housing communities.
The Northtown Library and Apartments represent a new type of community amenity that combines a library with affordable housing for seniors.
Chicago, Illinois
  • In partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), we launched the Black in Design Mentorship Program in 2021
  • Our Phil Freelon Fellowship and the Johnson-Nagle Family Fellowship—both at the Harvard GSD—provide expanded academic opportunities to Black students and students of color.
  • We co-created and co-funded a scholarship in 2020 to support the professional development of two Black designers. The scholarship covers the full cost of the designers’ Architectural Registration Examination, study materials, and Associate AIA membership.
  • We made Juneteenth an official holiday for staff in the U.S. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery.
  • Our Diverse Subconsultant Program—one of the first of its kind in the AEC industry—puts strategies in place to ensure we partner with disadvantaged and minority-owned service providers and manufacturers.
  • For architecture firms in the U.S., we authored a white paper that provides clear guidance on establishing more just, equitable, engaged, diverse, and inclusive work cultures.
  • In January 2021, The Human Rights Campaign Foundation ranked our firm as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ equality for the third consecutive year. This important national ranking benchmarks corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ rights.
We launched the Black in Design Mentorship Program with the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) to promote greater representation of Black talent in the design industry.
We authored a white paper that provides clear guidance on establishing more just, equitable, engaged, diverse, and inclusive work cultures.
Our firm has continued to prioritize and champion LGBTQ+ equality as part of our commitment furthering to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the industry.

Lighting the Way Forward

We’re working hard every day to serve as a model of social justice and equity in our profession because we know inclusion drives creativity, and engagement spurs innovation.



Congratulations to our Award-Winning Clients!

We’d like to extend a special congratulations to our clients that Fast Company recognized with a Brands That Matter Award, and whose partnership we value greatly:

  • 3M
  • Indeed
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Philips
  • Purdue University
  • Yeti

See the full list of Brands That Matter honorees here.