Architectural Giant Art Gensler, Founder of Gensler, Passes Away at 85

Photo: Gensler

Art Gensler, the founder of one of the largest architectural firms in the world, Gensler, is no more. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home. He was 85.

“We are saddened to share that our founder, M. Arthur Gensler Jr., has passed away peacefully,” the architectural firm Gensler said in a tweet. “An architect and visionary, Art’s legacy, influence, and inspiration will forever be felt throughout the industry and the firm.”

He founded Gensler in 1965 and turned it into one of the world’s largest architectural firms with 50 offices spanning across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Earlier this year, Mr, Gensler and his family endowed a $10 million gift to the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University.

“When I graduated from Cornell in 1958, I knew I had received a wonderful architectural education. I certainly couldn’t have imagined then how meaningful and important it would be to expand the educational offering to include off campus programs,” Gensler said when announcing the gift.

M. Arthur Gensler

Gensler is widely credited with elevating and expanding the practice of architecture and interior design. In 1965, he founded the San Francisco-based Gensler, a multidisciplinary design practice that has organically grown into a global firm with offices in 50 cities and more than 5,000 teammates. In 2000, Gensler was named the American Institute of Architects’ Architectural Firm of the Year, the institute’s highest honor to a collaborative practice.

Gensler’s late wife, Drucilla “Drue” Gensler, who died in 2017, played an integral role in the establishment of Gensler, acting as business manager and in other capacities. She also worked at Cornell as an assistant to Urie Bronfenbrenner in the Department of Child Development and Family Relationships in the College of Human Ecology.