Press Releases 05.03.2022

Perkins&Will’s Minneapolis Studio Appoints New Managing Director, Design Director

Jennifer Christiaansen becomes Managing Director and Tony Layne becomes Design Director. The two will work together to continue fulfilling their studio’s purpose of designing for the greater good.

MINNEAPOLIS—Architecture and design firm Perkins&Will announces two key leadership transitions in its Minneapolis studio: Jennifer Christiaansen has stepped into the role of Managing Director, and Tony Layne has moved into the role of Design Director. Christiaansen served as the studio’s Operations Director for the last five years, while Layne served as Managing Director for the past six years. The transitions took effect May 1.

“We are living through a moment of disruption that is truly unprecedented, and this gives us a unique opportunity to listen and to change,” says Christiaansen. “We are using this moment to take a fresh approach for our studio and our clients so we can remain bold, innovative, and creative—building upon the strong foundation that Tony, and others before him, have built.”

“We’re aligning everyone’s highest and best use to simplify, clarify, and be authentic with ourselves about what we do best for our clients and for the studio,” adds Layne. “There is no one more qualified to step into the Managing Director role in this moment than Jen. As for me, I’m looking forward to focusing even more on delivering design excellence to our clients.”

"We are using this moment to take a fresh approach for our studio and our clients so we can remain bold, innovative, and creative."

Jennifer Christiaansen, Managing Director

Jennifer Christiaansen has stepped into the role of Managing Director

From Operations Director to Managing Director

Christiaansen has 25 years of experience in design, business, and culture-building. She started her career as a designer in Perkins&Will’s Chicago studio in 1997 and, after acquiring a decade of experience with other practices both nationally and internationally, she returned to the firm’s Minneapolis studio in 2016. Christiaansen is a recognized champion of justice, equity, engagement, diversity, and inclusion (J.E.D.I.)—a passion that helped her earn an AIA Minnesota Young Architect Award in 2020.

“As a woman, a deeply curious architect, and an empathetic and nurturing leader, I believe this transition aligns with the current transformational needs of society and our studio,” she says. “The past three years, in particular, have given us all a new perspective on what is truly important. Today, we have an opportunity to listen, to take what has worked in the past and present, and to rebuild it into something new for future generations.”

From Managing Director to Design Director

Layne has been part of Perkins&Will for 22 years. He is a graduate of Perkins&Will’s first Leadership Institute, an annual program that provides hands-on training and professional development support to emerging leaders of the firm—many of whom, like Layne, move into executive management roles. Passionate about socially and environmentally responsible design, in the early aughts Layne helped spearhead Perkins&Will’s Sustainable Design Initiative, the firm’s first concerted global focus on sustainability. He is now a prominent voice and champion of Living Design, and helped lead the Minneapolis studio to win an AIA Minnesota Firm Award in 2019.

Tony Layne moves into the role of Design Director
“I’m so proud of what Jen and I have built over the last half decade, and excited for our continued partnership. I’m also looking forward to revamping our Minneapolis studio’s creative process and further elevating our work. We’ll do this through innovation and our commitment to designing for the greater good.”

Tony Layne, Design Director